It was strange to see her at first,

my sister lying in the oak box,

her face bare, hands folded

neatly across her chest.

She had worn heavy makeup

since the day she turned fourteen

and to see her without that mask

of color was almost unnerving.

The only shimmer on her face

came from the glue that spilled

from the creases of her closed eyes,

forming lines like the lids

of old dolls eyes we played with

when we were very young—

dolls with strings that

made them talk, and

opened their eyes

when tilted back.

For a moment I wished

She was one of those dolls

and I could reach in and gently

tilt my sister back

to open her eyes and

we could play her life over

as we did when we were children.

Only this time I would place

her on a higher shelf

so she could not be broken

face cracked, twine wrapped

around her fragile neck.