stars in the trees2
By Tamara Madison

One night
their mother comes home
with the man
who doesn’t like children.
They say
they are married now
and head
toward the bedroom
his shoes heavy
on the stair
the seams
of her stockings
retreating
into the darkness
behind him.
The five children
crowd together
at the bottom
of the stairs
not talking
not crying
huddling close
holding one another
in the musty half-dark
that smells
like an old man’s breath.

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