A delicate person in relationships, like most beaten women, you misplace your anger. In the days when I first moved like snow in thunder, you took your anger out on people in books you love, the reader in belles lettres with no critical light. The people in your books are real to you, but are also playthings. You once referred to me, your baby sister, as your plaything; it’s hard for me to know this delicate touch like dust in pages of cloth books, disintegrating as music fades along with sky. I just gaze at ginger kittens staring out the window, the misty watercolor I want to live in. Following music, laughter, and light, I am the thing you love more than knowing my shadow steals. Dance with me, even though twenty years ago I didn’t know what dancing was. Breathe deeply. My nose scents fried shrimp and rice cooking. I still walk like snow in thunder. Inside the house, why is Mother always Mommy? Don’t ask. Jimmy tells everyone it’s okay Mommy pretends, searching for moon gleams, concrete rain, water falling over tunnels; and now with me, Jimmy cries for Mother at her funeral as we wonder why we have to hide. Just before sleep, put away all thoughts, memories of old friends, faces of the children in new light, soft skin, the dream where you hope to gain the truth about me, where I went when I disappeared in our childhood, as our dead mother goes on a diatribe about the spirit of work, health, happiness, domestic and private goals. She creates order from disorder when she says, I’m the dust. If your sister had lived, she would have been snow in thunder. Fists pound on walls, and you say to our father, stop. It’s too late. Even though I still walk like snow in thunder, I hear thuds of delicate books falling, dishes breaking, boxes overturned. Sometimes there are no bruises, only words. Broken words are a lullaby, or a love song. How I long to caress even your sweet bones. Something deep inside you grows dumb, a hidden visitor you don’t want here in winter. My words won’t leave. Where we once clung for warmth in the rooms, broken heaters hiss near the swamp of shared plumbing, common bathrooms. Little gray puddles float our lost trinkets, pictures. Old pipes speak, children whispering.


Photo By: Adam Ward