a thing I keep

she was witness to the atrocity
her father slit her mother’s throat
in the months before

and when the counselor told me
I fell in the hall, until the wall caught me.
I would have gone to the ground, and the counselor
said, “perhaps I should have warned you, somehow”

in the collection of the things that happened that year
I must have given her the impression that I was holding her hand
or maybe I even did at times

that is a little thing I keep
when I wonder if I have done some good

that picture she drew of me holding her hand, and she is smiling

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