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My sister

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My sister the one who always dresses
like she's headed to a Grateful Dead concert,
likes to soothe her trepidation with an oral fixation.
My sister with the Lady Godiva hair, long and lean
like a milkweed seed, played her jazz records
whenever there was rain because she couldn't
tell the difference between the two. My sister
the mouth breather with the oven-warm hands,
liked to sing songs in a key they hadn't invented yet.
My sister the smoker with the big hips and the blackberry lips
made a promise to our mother at the age of five that
she could stop chewing her split ends, a failure,
the first of many losses in her life.
My sister with the oven-warm hands who whistles
and lies through her teeth was christened a smartass
by the boys down the street because she let words
slip from her lips like ribbons of water, she clutched
their words and turned them on their heads to bite
them on their asses, the other parents said
put a muzzle on that one. My sister with the umbrella
mouth, said the word fuck like sunshine, my sister
with the oiled tongue who gave head to bread and chocolates
and sweet cashews, vomited it up as a sacrifice to the toilet
again. My sister who was breastfed for too long,
thought every stranger and boy down the street
was the milkman and trusted too much. My sister
the one who tried to swallow the universe, didn't know
what was possible or impossible to digest, had to settle
for kissing it on the open mouth instead. My sister
who bit off the erasers on her pencils, afraid to sing
inside a locked room I can only get to
with a key they haven't invented yet.



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