My mother is buying individual cups of Ben & Jerry’s by the bulk,
the ones with the little spoons under the lid.
Peanut butter and chocolate brownie. Pumpkin spice. Cinnamon roll.
Condolence flavors with varying textures and flavors.

You ask me how my shift was, your voice cracks.
I avoid eye contact and tell you some insignificant fact
about PLU codes or VIC cards.
You respond with some sort of insincere interjection.

Too many cheeks pressed against the door frame,
too many careful steps towards the threshold of my bedroom,
too many cold toes on the stairs,
too many tip-toeing sessions,
trying to avoid the tiles of the landing that creak.
My mother is buying individual cups of Ben & Jerry’s by the bulk.

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