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          By Anita Jay Durkin

          Her pudgy fingers clutching rough wood posts
          three shades darker than her brown ring curls,
          she peers over the fence with enormous eyes,
          tilting her head and skewing her smile.

          She is standing on an overturned crate she found
          empty in the chicken coop, the coop itself
          empty, and now the box becomes
          the several inches more she needs to peer
          beyond the gate, her bird bone body
          smaller than her age suggests.

          Wearing the white dress Mama made
          before Pa came, she knows it won't
          be long before she wears again
          the dress to poor man's church and cross.

          For now, her fingers are adorned
          with splinters she accepts with minor
          flinches, the twitch of shoulders I can
          see from on the sloping roof where
          few white birds beat fragile wings, where
          she might stand when I have gone and
          climb or jump or fall back down.

          © Copyright 2004, Anita J. Durkin, All Rights Reserved.

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Document last modified on: 09/28/2004

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