Ten Dollars

When I closed your tender toddler hand
in the car door, the only screams I heard

were my own. You were always stoic in your pain
your frail bird body stretched on my couch,

ribcage rubbing through your skin—when I still
believed I could patch your fractures with sister-love.

You were beautiful, the final stubborn embers
of a dying fire. I see your smirk flash

in my son’s eyes and I forget
to remember you are gone—only that siblings

share an equal measure of genes as parents
and children. You were audacious—

wouldn’t be surprised if you were offered
a throne to the world you

wished into being—one that is flat
and monochrome with no capacity for nuance or

for me, who glories in the grays.
You were always the smoldering rage

of daffodils that bloomed before the final frost.
I told you the last time I sent you ten dollars,

I will never forgive myself
if this is the one that finally does you in.