Thirteen

When my mother
never locked
the front door,

and your car
sitting
in the driveway

with me
driving around the block,
once,
twice,
hoping
to catch you leave
for work.

your footsteps
hitting
the hardwood floors,
with you
always whistling
a song
I never learned the name.

with our
thirteen steps
that I would count
each time
I heard you
walk up
to my bedroom,
to turn the doorknob,
and drag your feet
against the floor,
and say my name

you would
walk back
down the
thirteen steps,
with me
sitting up in bed,
to turn on
the lamp,
to watch you
leave
through the cracks
in my window

realizing
for the first
time

that the way
you spoke my name
didn’t fit
right.

you were
getting
into your car,
slamming the door,
turning on
the radio,

and I said
my name
once,
twice,
until
it didn’t
feel
dirty
anymore.

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