Younger | Sister

She was sixteen-
year-old braids to
the other's pencil skirts, 
the sweet pale pink of a new 
tube of lipstick. She 
was the wish only to get 
out of the dusty farm 
and live for the first 
time in the city. She 
was the hand that hemmed 
and edged buttonholes 
on clothes cut and pieced, 
seamed on a sewing machine 
they'd bought together. 
She was a black lace veil 
worn over the head and
touching the shoulders, 
coming and going from 
the church on the corner.
She was the hand on the ladle,
the flip of wrists turning
and smoothing the dough. 
And soon, after her own
flesh was plucked from the bowl
to swell in its heat, she was 
fish-scale and years of oil 
spatter, while the other 
tucked a new Pilot 
pen into a leather-bound 
folio. Once she must have 
leaned on the cool back steps, 
a hand dreaming in the suds
of the laundry basin, green-
tendriled vines coiling 
through slats of the fence. 
What did one or the other 
do to deserve her fortune, what 
did one or the other pledge 
to preserve her fate? One
has gone ahead of the other,
while the other cradles their 
body of dreams that's shrunk
to the size of a wing 
still beating under 
a house dress loose 
as a tent on her bones.  

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