Mom only calls me now to inquire about you.
How are you? She asks out of politeness,
because, Have you heard from your sister?
isn’t an agreed upon salutation.
I tell her I have no idea where you go
And our silence hangs there,
like a parking ticket waiting to be paid.

I know you’re sick little sister,
you have been for as long as I can remember.
Dinner with dad is, I don’t know what it will take
to get her off drugs, in between bites of potatoes.

I have a disease,
you remind me from a bed of rocks
and my guilt hangs there
like dry mouth
after the stomach flu,
like a freshly shaven head
after a round of chemotherapy.
It hangs there like an
empty vase
on a grave.

We all know it’s coming,
so we grant you the gift we give the dying.
We let you consume us,
you hang there
like mold behind the bathroom tile.

When you’re gone,
I wonder if mom will call anymore?
Even if she doesn’t mention you
you’ll hang there between us
like curtains she had sewn
to keep out the cold.
You’ll hang there
like a winter coat in June.