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RED QUEEN

Both bridled and brittle,
this mother's bite
and bark are indistinguishable.
Her words alone
can wound; but her specialty,
along with bitter
remonstrations, is tone and expression.
Voice-eyes-mouth,
especially mouth, bow
tight, lips drawn to vanishing
point and eyes of dark
and darting venom.

So much reaction
and never retraction.
Her children know mother-love
like apples know presses.

      — Virginia Beesley