Saturday, January 18, 2014

Month of poetry #17: May as well be sisters

Both of us slight, quiet and brown, ears
like wingnuts. Whispered sometimes, glancing
at my father, we may as well be sisters.
Stood naked together in the mirror,
aligning similarities of knee and clavicle,
assessing theories of common history.

I called her sister when it seemed
her mam might not make it to Christmas.

My father, his ear welded to the news
shook his head at spouted world targets
in megadeaths that the war promised Japan.
All through the fighting he was part man,
part robot, shellacked one with the radio.
He seemed to understand what it all meant.

My sister and I whispered only one
small death, her tinier mam in that tiny bed.

Most days were marginal, we rolled out
of bed itchy: cursed be the pesty cat that
sprung our mattress with critters and dander.
My mam chased the queen outside and
beat the fleas as if blankets are available
only at the price of leather. She had them boiled alive.

For some gods, stocking wishes only come true
at Christmas. My sister wished for her mam.

It's hard to breath in hospitals, but we stayed.
After sitting close by death, the need for life
refreshes. Automatically every thirty
minutes I saw my sister check her pulse,
pressed my own thumb firm to wrist:
the flesh giving a little, like a ripe cheese.

Includes suggestions from:

@matchtrick: refreshes automatically every thirty minutes
@spikelynch: cursed be the pesty cat (marginal note by irate medieval scribe)
@home_sewn: I called her sister
@ernmalleyscat: boiled alive for some god's stocking (Human League, Being boiled)
@realnixwilliams: like ripe cheese
@timsterne: World Targets in Megadeaths (printed on a binder in Dr Strangelove)
@attentive: blankets are available

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