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"Once Upon a Time"

Marta pushes back a 
lock of hair as she mops
the floor.
Thinking of brighter days, 
she remembers
the laughter of her children
when they were young,
the smell of stew cooking
on her stove,
the sound of rain
on her slate roof,
her man's arms around her
at night.

She moves stiffly now, and
understands why her mother
was so tired when she came 
home each day.
With the last hallway done,
she empties her pail, leaves
her mop to dry, and returns
to her flat over the tailor shop. 

Smells from the bakery make 
her hesitate, but exhaustion
forces her inside.
I'll make myself a cup of tea, 
she thinks, then sits alone and 

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