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I don’t know

how I came to be

so forgiving. To offer

second, third, even

fourth chances, when,

clearly, it wasn’t warranted.

Perhaps it came from that

girl who danced endlessly,

and, when dancing didn’t

work, lay flatter and flatter,

becoming one with the

ground, smooth and seamless,

to avoid tripping up anyone

trying to get by. Watching

mother, darkening her brows

in the mirror, turning this

cheek, the other. Silent

motes of powder

floating from the puff, tender

perfume trails curling across

the room. Silent and still as

mother rose and rushed off

to wherever it was that

was so very important.


Long grown, I tell her,

I see you there, you don’t

have to keep jumping to

lift your head above water.

It already is. Child,

turn your own cheek,

you know yourself best

and can dance your way

out of this place.

You always could.

Heather Shaff

Heather Shaff is a cyclist, writer, and mom based in Boston. She's fascinated by all things growth, motivation, and learning... and will drop everything for chocolate ice cream.

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