I slept on the top bunk
Caleb slept on the bottom bunk
For the best of his years, or what could have been,
Eric slept on the leftover space on the floor
of that closet-sized room that brother brother
and sister shared.
Caleb rode his bicycle over my forehead, once. It was
but there was the swelling, and at school it drew
attention that I still can’t erase.
Once, I fell asleep on Eric’s blankets
so in the morning I found him
sleeping under a beach towel instead.
I pretended not to care. Not to notice.
And so does he.
It was like this that we three saw
and made each other bleed:
Giggling in church
and at Grandma’s funeral
throwing cold dishwater
at each other’ bare shoulders
and sometimes hot irritation.
Singing the shower and in the car, little wolf
cubs crying for duet
through the closed door; we
teased our parents, carefully, predictably,
laughing, too, when they rearranged
the kitchen or our beliefs.
Could we call it a violence
that we laughed
That we grew
our capacities to hurt and leave and forget
and choose otherwises and elsewheres
more and more so in the wake of each year?
that there is still a kind of sister I have been
Meaning to be.