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Lost

By the time my sister turned twelve she would stand
clench jawed, staring into the wall, as he hammered
her with whiskey-foul shouts. From the dark
corner of my room, pressed between pillows, I felt

those percussions and pictured her gaunt eye sockets-
dark as bruised apple peel. She had run before,
and by sixteen was gone for good.  In dreams 
I've swam out into the marsh where her body

was found, and watched the dying light refracted through
narrow spikes of a black willow. In the shadow-sketched bogs,
waters whisper as I slog through sawgrass and cattails.
Snakes skulk around my ankles like dark roots.

Sometimes we're together, hiding in a cornfield, the mud
swallowing us as we clutch the sun-rotted stalks.  It's no wonder

then that sometimes I wake with my contorted face pressed

to the floor, listening for the underwater screams of a lost girl.