Secret mother

I pine for a photograph.
In it, my secret mother
is perhaps seventeen,

and I barely one
in her arms. She wears
a veil that covers her head

and falls around her shoulders,
lace cutouts like the puzzle
pieces from this story.

I’m not even sure
I know what it is I want
to know: whether my father,

barely two years married
to my official mother,
took something he

shouldn’t have,
or if it was freely
given. I know

there is
such a picture.
I fingered it often

when I was young,
before I even knew
what was missing.

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