Shirley Smith Franklin
Look Twice Before Crossing

Look once. Look twice.
Look long and hard as ever you can
until the house, actually
only the flat rooftop where
you'd watched your brother,
shouting, running, fly kites
fragile and vulnerable
each spring, fades
into the red evening dust.
Even so, all you will remember
is your mother's black chiffon burka
swaying in the wind, and wonder
what left you with the impression
that it was heavy, even though
she'd always told you it was light.


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