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Angela Bally

BPR 51 | 2024

Half sister who floated out to sea

A calm day; a few boats
on the water, sails jaunty
as a dandy’s pocket square.
In the distance, one cumulus.
Nearer, the promontory
of an island, its bristling crown.
A dog sniffing the shoreline resembled “Tige,”
who used to sell Buster Brown shoes.
The tide spread itself like a delicate shawl.
Every night, in my sleep, my older half-sister
tried to live with me. She thought I would
introduce her to people, men
in particular. Every night
she was bitter, disappointed. I failed
to bring her anything she wanted,
though I asked a man, while fondling him,
did he have friends;
and, what’s more, seldom asked her to sleep
in her own room with her paintings,
their redolent wet oils.
For my part, I hoped to find generous
friends I could emulate, learn from;
I looked everywhere there was. Found
a cemetery’s obelisk; a fire station’s
row of high boots.
my half-sister held one corner
of my blouse, the one she had declared
a great color for me. Cotton
voile. I love the word “voile”; I pull it
At Dairy Queen, I ordered for her;
the “Monkey Tail,” since her lips wouldn’t say it.
Under the sky, the same pine tops, shape
cut by pinking shears.
I take note of days: the one for the number Pi;
various eating contests; eclipses, complete
and partial; the time and place for disposal
of white goods.
How long since she went floating? Long.
I pull on time like clear tape; I reach cardboard;
a new roll begins.