Sister

I wish you’d told me-
How much it’d
hurt when
you left me
forever.

A place –
we both knew.

Remember – where
Our mother left.

You atop of the
green carpet of stairs,
worn when our feet were little.
Going up to bed and bouncing down
for breakfast, then school.
Me at the foot – holding
my mother’s hand.
Her breath unable
to fill the words
She said.

You told our father:
Let her go.

I set off for the sea
sat by shingle.
Watched my mother smile.
While you chose new wallpaper
with red- roses- strewn
like daisy chains.
Picked out light blue
settee. An oval mahogany
rimmed mirror.
Ran up curtains
that hung perfectly – draped.
Made sumptuous dinners
for dad and son –
creamy mash potato,
crisp roast chicken, carrots,
and peas. Mastered the art
of Yorkshire puddings. The crunch and softness
of knife cutting down through meaty gravy.

Such delights.

When I returned, the house bore a buzz.
Made the sun fall brighter on the pine
dining table.

Men at the table, bracing cutlery
licking plates , undoing belts after blackberry
pie and custard.

The dishes seemed cleaner, packed neater
into the sideboard. The elbow reaching suds
didn’t dull your hands, like our wrung
out mother’s.

Her heart defying plunge into scalding hot
Then freezing cold.

Weather never bothered her.

Published by Stella McHugh

Survivor of so many things that happens to women and girls.

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