When my mother told me to straighten my back,
I told her that I would break her back with grief.

That was what she would always say to me;
somehow, in my own mouth, these words,
meant to be mocking, went soft,
and I looked away, filled with hatred.

This hatred of mine made her gentle;
she began to woo me much as she wooed Wystan
when she first married my father.
She could not bear to not be loved by everyone.

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