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An apology to my sister - Hannah Kludy

I


I should have told you

the house on kenwood was haunted

but I was afraid

to feed our fears

those footfalls on painted concrete floors

the way the heat vents clanged

at two each morning

even in the summer

or what had been entombed

under that strange block of plaster

in the corner of the living room

would you have felt

more frightened or less

if i admitted it

would you have slept

better at night

would you be less haunted today


II


I found the photo in my bedside table of us

Halloween me fourteen and you eleven

I was a goth princess with a tattered skirt

you were a dead girl mummy in rags

I should have noticed you were sad

more often on Halloween when you said you didn’t care

what candy I traded you for

that night in the picture your blue eyes wet

your blonde curls which never lost

their baby softness piling in the smooth crease

between your neck and shoulders your costume

so ugly next to mine that was the year

you said you didn’t like holidays i should have seen it

unspun you from the tangle

I helped dress you in


III


I am so sorry I never asked

why you won’t wear shorts

even in the heat of summer

no air conditioning I

can’t change it can’t

make you hurt less hurt

yourself less why

did you do it and not tell me


i should have left my bedroom

door open more i should have

noticed the way you winced

how you wore jeans

even on the hottest days

you only confessed years later

when you wanted to swim again


IV


I never believed black cats were bad luck

until Apollo got cancer

he did not go quietly like Kassoon who curled

under mom’s wardrobe paws tucked daintily under chin

Apollo died screaming seizing

he died pissing on the floor

he died running into walls

clawing at people he no longer recognized

that last night you stayed with him

laid awake on the couch

breathing in your tears and ammonia

while I slept in my room too afraid

to look at what death is when it chooses

not to come as a sad spring breeze

but rather a sharpened bitter torrent

I am sorry I let you face it alone.


Bio:

My work has been published in magazines such as All the Sins, apt, and 34th Parallel. I live in Kansas City and spend my time irritating my husband and giving my dogs cream cheese.

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