297. Question

With sudden tenderness,
Louise bent down. She laid
A hand, restraining, against
Riah’s shoulder, and one
At her forehead, as if
To forbid more effort there.
“Sweetheart, fine.
You’ve told me all
You can. You tried hard.
Breathe. I understand.
Relax–” Louise ran fingers
Down the stiffened arms,
Encircling Riah’s fists.
“You rest”–

A moment’s hesitation,
When Louise, Tom
Thought, quick
Tensed as if to
Bolt–then
Snapped back, for
The question, tried
And true:
“Riah, would you like
A story?”

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