I Was Driving With My Mother

April 10, 2008
By Lara McDonough, Oak Park, IL

I was driving with my mother
and suddenly she brings up
how our neighbors just had their child.
I nodded, uncomfortable, whenever
the subject of babies come up.
But mom is never like me--
she keeps talking until, finally,
My older sister,
the blue-faced baby with the small ear,
able to breath through one lung
My sister, Lena, mom respires slowly.
And then she looks at me,
as if waiting for something,
maybe for my face to turn blue and small
But I say nothing.
Lena, our guardian angel,
mom says quietly.
And then she looks away from me--
me, the child named for the one who died.

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