Apology

Each morning she swept
stars from the wood floor, cursing
as the bright bits scattered,

and barked whenever I’d whine.
Her list of reasons why
I had no right to be unhappy

landed like lashes. At the open door
she bent and snapped
the broom’s bristles—forbade

the stars to return. I didn’t ask how
they got inside our room—the cracks
in the ceiling, I suppose.

She kept the windows shut.
I’m sorry, Mom, I never thought of you,
even once, as a little girl.

Michael Mark’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Arkansas International, Los Angeles Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Poetry Daily, Rattle, The Sun, Verse Daily, Waxwing and The Poetry Foundation's American Life in Poetry. michaeljmark.com