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57 At the Lake Mama, down by the lake under the live oaks the boy punched me in my belly, I couldn’t breathe everything turned white ’til the lake reached the sky and him there laughing face all red with the sun. So I slapped him ’cross the nose and he wailed. And you came and grabbed me shook me up there before all of them till all I could do was close my eyes and pretend I was flying or walking down to the bottom of the lake where everything is soft, everything is warm and gentle like how it is when I crawl in the space where your body has just been on a real cold night. 58 Mama, I could hardly breathe. How come you gather him up in your arms, telling him to hush, all cooing, hush baby, hush honey; leaving me there in the soggy leaves to suck my tongue, Mama, how come? ...


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