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Hearth in the Heart

The mother worries that her sons
Will join a gang and worship guns.
Her daughter, mother worries, could
Get raped in their own neighborhood.
As wife, she dreads her husband might
Get robbed and shot near work one night.

Her love attempts to shield them, bind
Their home into a haven for the kind.
Four willow branches reach from vase
On dining table gowned in lace.
A bowl of candies glitters near
The sofa Grandma left last year.

A cell phone, for emergencies,
Guards table, near where extra keys
Stay hidden. And just behind the vase
Lurk little canisters of mace.
From work, the mother telephones
Each afternoon. Firm, gentle tones

Remind the children of their chores
And mother’s love–its keys, its doors.
Posted 05/30/14
from Wildfire, Candleflame (Rose Alley Press, 2005)
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