Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Poem as a Sister


We’re using the internet now
to solve family problems –
the sisters fighting
in fiber-optic waves.

One step removed from the passion
that causes us to hurt
our words are chosen
clinical in their therapeutic jargon
that belies the seriousness
of the cancer
our chronic defensiveness
lodges in our bodies.

At best
we love carefully
with fingertips and toepads
pressed to baby-bird shells
in mine-fields of good-intention tulips.

We are mindsets and memories.
Our relationships stagger into the present
from the drunken, repetitive
beatings of our pasts
woven together with verbal fisticuffs
and a hollow disregard for the reality
of a sister’s lived nightmare
that never resembled our own.

Our bodies, separate and unequal,
absorbed the family horrors
in three separate ways:
blocked, volleyed, relayed.

We circle each other and spar
now on the attack
now crouching
now unreachable.

We hunger. We are carnivores.
We eat each other
our bellies never full.
All the while
we hold fast
our true-to-life faith
that we can know ourselves
without each other
know our past
without pain
confront our demons
without shedding the ones dressed
in hand-me-down sibling clothes.

We hunger. We fight.
We splinter into shadows of ourselves
and each other
until each shade of gray
becomes layered as clouds –
filled with unshed rain.

Receivers jammed
we listen in the silence
of an unheard future
to the typos
slipping meaning
into unknown code.

Connection lost
our words transmit one long run-on sentence
into cyberspace.

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