The Place Between Sisters

January 4, 2012
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Two girls reach for the same grey shirt.
Mean, accusing comments halt
we both know, my dear
it’s too big for you
it’s too small for me.

Two sisters--
two phases of woman held three years apart.
I know the years between us, Boo, and they were hard ones.
They always will be.

That grey shirt holds the place between sisters.
You grow into the years I lose--
one by one
shirt by shirt
Two friends--
born of the sisterhood of the tire swing summers
a promise blessed by the reading of Goodnight Moon
christened by the tears over who was right
and the tinny water from our garden hose.
“Wear your sundress, pretty girl, the one with the sailboats.”
but I know I’ve seen it folded away
in a cardboard box
that we sent to the Goodwill Goddess.
I gave it to you.
“I can’t- it’s too small.”
but you went through it too quickly and too impatiently.
and I was more sad to see you outgrow it
than I was to see it go.

I smile, uneasy
as your little muddy sneaker fits perfectly
into a footprint I just made
with mama’s good heels.
All the while remembering:
my next step was a stumble.

What can I say
when I feel you reach
for the place between sisters?

“The shirt’s yours. You’ll grow into it.”

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