WHEN A SISTER LOSES A SISTER
Elisabeth Sharp McKetta
When a sister loses a sister
she must use her body for two.
The night your sister disappeared
you were at the pool with your friends, looking for an alibi
so that you wouldn’t have to swim.
When a sister loses a sister, the living sister
has a choice.
Collect all of the books on sister-losing that exist
and consider writing another. Retire to your room and read
for years and years until you have a philosophy for why you lost her.
Or move into
one part of your body that she can’t move. Your bones are pure
blood and marrow and can break if you make them.
Let your belly protrude
and learn to dance—
play rugby and get hurt
down hills and break
your bones and let
branches scrape your arms
When you lose a sister your hair must run long, not cut
like a boy in mourning. How cold
can your body get, and how hot? What pulse is that
that wasn’t there before?
You ask what to do now.
You must drip your bathing suit down the road
and walk home.
fiction poetry "fact" photography