As a little girl, my sister ran into the brick fireplace
wishing she might melt through it, her Old Navy
t-shirt flying off with the force of her sprint, the
polyester nightmare of her young life set free.
And with steep lunges, I would of course scoop
both hands around her failure. Her wet tears landing
neatly on my forearm, I would turn her head to find it
splitting like the freezing ground between her eyes.
They took her to the hospital without me while
I sat in the garage with a stranger and he cried as if she were dead.
This cold moment would roll over and resuscitate itself,
a nightmare to each sibling, we would all take turns being hurt.
Coming home that night, I found her pastel balloon looming
in the hallway. It waded in the dark, the sympathetic words
teasing me with their swollenness. Two stitches will always
live like huddled bugs between her eyes, waiting for me to blow them away.
Today I find myself still waiting at the edge of the long forest,
biting down on every bug I can remember
but she never comes back to me as that pale angel
breaking through, completely free
I stretch my arms long, longer than possible
but she’s afraid to run, afraid to run to me.
Olivia Vittitow enjoys full schedules, impractically small purses, and personal finance. Her poetry has appeared in 30 North Literary Review, and her fiction in Spry Literary Journal.