My sister’s second child was already a girl
in her grandmother’s mind, thinking of how well
she had navigated the first, how out of her
spiraled a boy with some of my face, the pensive part,
the frown on holidays as yet un-celebrated,
unrecognized by the confetti of stories
in unmet mouths. There were commentaries made
when he began to look like people we knew.
And her friends would tell her,
he looks like your brother. These were friends
I’d met a few times in bars, minutes before
disappearing into the alphabet soup bowls
of flesh on the floor, not dancing,
not lifting one shoulder or extending a knee,
but watching the laughter and arguments
of bodies pulsing. I took my sister through it,
one night, years before her first baby,
and it confused her, all the looking,
all the seeming-ness of nothing,
following my invisible hand in the large sound of night,
suddenly the brave, the elder, the captain
of our friendship begun at our births.
I must have taken her power that night,
as later we called each other cunts. Her friends
that adore her son did not adore me, then,
white-knuckling the car back to our places,
to more desirous places. And these years have come on
to now, colliding with what they do not mention
when they look at him, when they say,
this is your brother, look at his lips, the turn of his chin,
his curiosity at words on the refrigerator,
Oh God, keep him away from words.
As though the words would change,
would un-say themselves over time.
As though my sister would choose me first,
to call and say, I’ve miscarried the girl,
we are both no more.