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Photograph: Sharron R. McMillan

Photograph: Sharron R. McMillan

“Don’t tell everything you know.”
“This stays within the family.”
“Keep your mouth shut.”
Mom’s cough, mom’s glare
communicated to me
I was talking too much, telling things I should not tell. Again.
No wonder I pulled in and stopped talking.
Thank God I took to writing, or I would have burst
with all the words that filled my mind
and were not allowed to be spoken.

Now I want to tell it all, say everything,
ignore the cough, the glare,
but I can’t remember.
I can’t remember what was so private I couldn’t tell,
what was so secret
I should be cautioned every time I went anywhere.
Why the glare when I chattered on
as a normal young girl
talking about normal things.
What was she afraid I would say?
Who was she afraid would hear?

©Sharron R. McMillan

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