A crinkle used to appear
at the top of her nose
when she laughed. Really laughed.
A tiny spasm, a scrunching of skin
that meant, just then,
she was happy.

When she smiled or leaned in
and listened intently to a joke,
I looked for the crinkle.
And if it appeared, I rejoiced -
a tiny reprieve, a moment of
forgetting. And then I too
could smile, could relax.
(Thank you. A silent prayer.)

I checked my face in the mirror
when I was small. For the crinkle.
For a sign that we were the same.
But it never appeared.
I had her feet and her fingernails
but never the crinkle,
never the same laugh.

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