ON SORROW She shows up uninvited, not quite a friend, knows where I keep the spare key, just reaches for the door frame and lets herself in. She rifles through my cupboards, forgets to wash the dishes, leaves nothing for me. You know how a CD skips and skips and sort of sounds sorry but really isn’t? She can’t help it, she says. And don’t I love her anyway, how familiar her imprint in my sheets, how after a while, I tune out her breathing like it is my own, have stopped registering that she is not, in fact, me -- that it was not me who broke the glass and left the shards for hours, not me who used the unpaid bills as coasters, who is unrepentant. She is the broken spot on my showerhead, she drips and drips, fills my ears. I hang up the towel, catch a glimpse of myself in the fogged mirror and see her, this sister not sister, this heavy ghost, this me, not me, not me. PALEONTOLOGY and science is about discovery, isn’t it? the creation of new ideas, the unearthing of old ones, and writing is not so different like digging up a skull, finding his teeth how sharp they still are even in memory, even in words, how blank his eyes so reminiscent of sitting in the passenger seat, how even with a hand on my thigh, even when we were not moving he always looked straight ahead, which too will someday become a specimen to be unearthed, dusted off, catalogued— there is nothing haunting about clean bones, about skeletons behind velvet ropes. NOW YOU DON’T Father pulls disappearing act needs no puff of smoke no sleight of hand, just a mid-morning living room conversation. There is no big reveal, no implied promise: a door opens, a miraculous return. Just my mother sawed in half, my brother asking all the wrong questions, looking for trap doors my sister, captive audience waiting for ordinary for the end of the show.
November 3, 2015