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The Counterfactual

I’m not proud of what I’ve done. One foot bent in the gaze of the lake as if pleading to be consumed immediately.

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday
April 13, 2021

I’m ten and I am yelling       I am ten and I am
carrying her     I am ten and I am running through 
a street          elbows scraping scabbed skin     all atrophy 

all onion skins     canola yellow         milk crates 
a hangnail    I am running and my sister is five and 
she stopped breathing     My sister is

five and she stopped breathing         My sister is five and
My     sister is five and I run     all untied shoelaces and 

chewing gum     And    My sister is fifteen and she just 
wheezes now    And     I spend my days writing poems about 

love and distance and emergency and     something 
that is all this in one     moving body     half beat and heaving    
A starved     star     About my mother catching 

flies in her palm and tennis serving them     into the floodwaters    
Look        Here is some of the truth          I am the sister who runs 
out of breath         I let holy smoke into my lungs 

and swallow     tongue grey    eyes wet         
mouth seething           A dead kingfisher     November passing 
through brown bodies like ghost         Here is some of the

truth     What would have happened if this moment 
disappeared     if the days I willed to undo themselves 
did just that     Some of the truth      As bandage 

As tourniquet sky    As fireworks       The truth       The 
truth           My sister is five and stopped breathing 
and I have only ever coughed