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Because

Because these words existed before
they could fill our mouths

Because our parents said them
and our grandparents and great-

grandparents because they echo
until they shed their meaning

becoming syllables of ember,
lit matches winging

to yahrzeit candles.
Because Warsaw,

Because we slam doors
on those we love

Because the floorboards creak
as we walk room to room

because someone knows where we are,
where we belong. Because months,

because fire, because sweets, because
crumbs, because holes, because seeds,

because we are born
to repeat and they are born

to resist
until it is the voice

of memory and her hands
stitching a loop:

because I love you, because
I love you, because I said so.

Carly Sachs is a poet, fiction writer and yoga instructor. Her short story “Tender” was selected by Jennifer Egan as winner of the Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize and appeared on “Selected Shorts.” She is the author of two collections of poetry, and editor of the why and later, a collection of women’s poems about rape and sexual assault.