A Hope Chest of Light Keeping

An ode to sisters

Home says ‘Hi’, Mackenzie. The sun winks past the window looking for you inside our room. The breeze tickles the wind chimes in the crepe myrtle to call you out to play. The grass stays short longing for you to lay on your towel with a magazine and your journal. Even the treadmill misses you. The floorboards and anxious for your footsteps, the rugs too.
When I come home and you are not there, it does not feel like home at all. More a half home, where I am waiting for you to return from school. A date. Work.
Where we kick off our shoes at the same time and watch something riveting and eerie. Where we sit in the kitchen with tea and lay it all out between us on the table.
It’s true, perhaps, I relied on you too much. But I don’t trust many people with my heart and even less so these days.
It always felt safe in your hands.
Part of that was because you are my sister.
Part of that was because you are smart and loving.
Part of that was because I could sense in you all the magic of the bloodline, and I knew (for the most part) I was getting your advice and also the advice from all the women gone before, speaking though you with the quick shake of your head or twist of your lips.
If you had a cigarette tapping on an ashtray I would know it was more than just you responding for sure.
And now I fear I wait and wait to hear your key turn in the door. And I know, it will not.
You are grown now. Married. A life of your own. A husband. A dog. And so many worries.
It is only me who gets older and moves backwards.
Like some sick, twisted version of Peter-Pan.
And in the pale wane of the moon on the back porch, I still think I feel you behind me. A cup of green tea in one hand, your phone in the other. You hair in the bun with a single strand falling forward that you twirl and twirl. And your shirt is ripped. And your shorts too big, rolled again and again.
If I stand here, looking out towards where wiggly tooth once stood taller than the rest for so many years, I can pretend things are exactly as they were. Kyle is upstairs laughing at a game while his fish tank bubbles. And you and I are about to unload our hearts like groceries. Pulling each object out of ourselves and placing it on the table, examining every dark and scary. Ugly and desirous; rage-filled, lustful, twinkly, angry, and exciting. And finding them all (no matter what, no matter how) worthy of love.

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