at times when she refuses to complete her school assignments

my sister, she paints wooden doll-house
furniture with cheap diluted poster color;
it is the least expensive stored love on the shelf
that she spills and wipes or leaves to dry
on today's newspaper by the door.

and if by certain accident i step and skewer
them off these cut-out binding notches my voice
will curl like splinters through my tongue
or the bile will clot in my stomach, intolerant
to the relief of pain. though twisted, of no measure,

i'd pacify her with a lie and buy acid-free stickers
at 3 dollars 95, no less, to make her shut up
when she whines. guilt-laced still, i'd offer
to stick these sand-papered pieces
back, at the expense of my uhu glue tube.

give in, way, i know it's my duty should i
not: i worry for her when she's nine, almost
failing in school and with these pint-sized ex-
friends with milky skin and sour acrid words.
and when this is her only way out and in

to something so negligible, i worry
for her where future is determined by the
first letter of the alphabet, so no, this is not
comprehensive, but it's unmistakable:
Art is All i Achieved in A-ducation.