Sister (This is how I say you)

You were the best dead girl –

lips sealed in a line.
Had a way of making even

your eyelashes go as still
as Molly Macintyre’s when you

put her down to sleep.
Hands overlapped your chest,

our recital dress, a navy polyester tube
with spaghetti straps, dotted

lilac. It was the spring.
We breathed evenly

into our palms’
cupped hollows. Lips to thumb

knuckles, the perfect
dove call. At this, I blew

better than you.
When you came back

from college, you’d take me
to coffee shops. Teach me to play

chess, to pronounce Cortado.
Roll the r. Stick the t

to the roof.
It was your way –

to spout absolutes.
Set the mug down, say

Never marry, or
Check mate.

I wanted to tell you how I prayed,
when we were small, that the devil

take me instead. I could not
love God more than you.

God does not exist.