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Sisters

Rosemary Sullivan
From:   The Space A Name Makes. Black Moss Press, 1986. p 9-10


Each summer when the others left for camp
we carted the mattress to the backyard
to build our tent — an eerie laundry
hanging in moonlight.

I was thirteen months behind you,
watching from a distance the body
you ran to meet so suddenly
those nights we lay in cooling dark

listening to the crickets drumming
the pulse of summer, the moon
an old woman leaning
through cracks in our blanket walls.

Your body was the mystery I waited for
from my childish space, the bones
shifting slowly like some creature
surfacing inside you.

Your breast spots stretching you
out of my world
the night he called to you
took off his clothes carefully

a ritual danced in moonlight,
daring you to come out;
you only laughed
and told me never to tell.

I did, of course, caught off balance
in that zone families clear
for a middle child—
perhaps it was then I cut my face

from all the family photos—
when I look at them now
there is always a small hole
sitting in the corner.

I started spelling my name backwards,
retreating from the space a name makes.
Kind with my betrayal,
you understood the child roaming sadly in a body.

The tent gone, another summer;
the creature stretched me too
as I watched night after night
the mirror, alone in my room.

You are still the guide in my dreams
teaching me to leap gaps between spaces,
still the loved one waiting patiently
for the childish dreamer to catch you.


Rosemary Sullivan's works copyright © to the author.


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