You were the macabre elder
sister who taught me how to paint
my poems like portraits, stirring
color and shadow together.

In those days, we were two mad girls
who loved words more than our mothers,
arrogant to assume only
we were trapped beneath the bell jar.


I wrote letters that you answered
from the grave in sprawling cursive.
In your suicide chronicles
you always pointed toward the gate

of death, swinging from its hinges,
beckoning for me to follow.
Why wait for the tree of my life
to rot, its gravid dreamfruit gone?

Behind your words, the oven breathed
smoky promises of release
from the hiss of doubt, slithering
like snakes in the back of my mind.


But somehow, I left you standing
on the other side of that gate,
with your beautiful, dead verses
twined like silver ropes round your neck.

Your whispers still flit like poison
moths drawn to dark chasms, but
words tether me to this world, where
I'm learning to forgive myself.

A/N: Even now, I listen to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am. June 17, 2010.