My Sister as a Body
Part 1: I moulded her body to what she was called
Our first words now seem like nothing in comparison to those that followed -
those that laid like water on our bottom lips -
waiting for our breath to wash them further into the other’s mouth
Begging to be swallowed,
whether in a whisper or a shout,
Not caring how the tongue writhed and the teeth trembled,
but worried if they ever will.
Thereupon our first meeting,
I decided I would carry her beneath my wings as if her own had been broken.
For I knew the mountains and the valleys of the world
and her - timid hills and fields.
between the gasps of gossiping teenagers gushing away with the sun on their foreheads,
we grasped each other in notions,
Scurrying in motion
to piece together the body before us
then tying the limps up at the waist
chattering in the nibbling rain
our noses stung from trying to smell the sea -
in the misty blue of early summer skies
when Bray town lumbered from its unconsciousness.
We would haul those thoughts upon our shoulders,
dividing the limbs in half
until I held the arms and her: the feet,
past the dargle river until we split paths,
almost every day for seven years.
Part 2: And the body became its own
The day before our parting, we sat on my double bed surrounded by the unfeeling walls of my studio apartment, crowded by all my family’s belongings packed into mountains of suitcases, drinking tea with cheap lidl cookies. Unwrapping all our thoughts we had mounted to the tips of our tongues until they were burdened and mumbling. We cried together that night until it was so late, she had to race home before she got in trouble.
Part 3: The Body As A Hearth
I shook my mind of everything I knew of her,
her depths and widths
nooks and crannies
that she hid from me
and prayed for fire
- and she became a “burning bush”
"My Sister as a Body" by Kayssie K (Christie Kandiwa). Reproduced with permission of the author.