Thursday, March 24, 2011

In Opelousas

I wore a picture of my sister throwing bread to ducks at the candlelight
memorial for victims of domestic violence. Only so much is let out
of a face and I read in folk Someone killed your someone too.

On my sister's fifteenth birthday, Grandmother dressed us
in withered gowns and petticoats as we looked through
trunks of Confederate uniforms, deeds to the farm, pictures of Otis,

an illustrated Bible listing births and deaths. My sister's is the first
not heart attack or stroke. I thought her husband never hurt her before.
When she left him, she threw some things in back, said Now, go now,

her baby asleep in her lap, headlights flickering in her eyes as she looked back.
A year ago, Mama admitted that he once pushed my sister out of his truck
on the highway. Who said we couldn't say anything. Neighbors tell us

of screams and days she wore too much make-up. Once we saw
our parents fight: Daddy slammed the screen door,
Mama looked out a window, my sister suggested playing outside.

She walked from her spot on the old oak stump to the strawberry patch
and I warmed my back on the aluminum slide. Candle wax
spills on my hand and I want it to scar. After kissing her casket good-bye,

I cried so hard I forgot who I was. Someone touched my arm. What's an arm.

-Farrah Field