Oct/Nov 2012 Poetry

For My Sister

by Deborah Schwartz

For My Sister

I wander into the bare house
alone where there's a mirror.
I see the moon face of myself as a daughter.
I take the nickel from my pocket,
the one I had found in the stream.
I dance a little on the hardwood floors
turning on-point. Such ambidexterity
is disorienting for the rest of the girls
with dogs who still play outside.

My wings unfold
bringing me deeper and deeper into myself.
They look like the rounded arms of the woman
when she held me like one balloon
that would never pop but sure liked to float
handing all the pedestrians the elation of Friday evening.
Now the ride gets dangerous:
white cliffs, black ocean, black bull
with a ringed nose on the path
near the red farmhouse.

My sister stayed fast asleep in bed
but because of her dreaming
I took trips
to come home so tired
to sleep cradled alongside her
to wake in the morning
more able to travel
more able to stand perfectly still
like the black rock that the black ocean
tears against.

The wheels have turned back
to the den with the orange couch
holding our aunts
who taught us to pick the color of our eyes.
My sister chose sea green so she could swim.
I chose the grey of smoke and will always see the shadows.
Now when I fly through them they look no different than the down pillows on the white bed.
If I turn away, (starting from the room on waking from dreams of constellations so dense,
I step on them like white laundry on the bedroom floor),
if I can unfold the wings listen to the swallowed compass like the hostile geese fly
(even broken, the wings are one-seventh of the body's weight and can be really tiring,)
if I can find the black pen, I can praise them.


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