My Sister Lives Upstairs
My sister lives upstairs.
She’s been living there
for one year and nine months,
a horrible whisper of a girl,
whom I love with everything I have.
She’s a dislikable warrior, rewarded
for her dedication with mutilated bones,
a sluggish pulse and a dirty blonde fur.
Yesterday, my sister nearly took my eyes out
with her jagged nails. They broke away
to stubs on contact with the tops
of my cheekbones.
I had asked her if she would
consider coming down for dinner.
Last week, winter almost killed her.
She lay there, above her duvet, shivering.
She looked like frost humanised.
We sat outside her bedroom,
waited for her last, brutally dry cough.
For the dull, heavy sound
of her head smacking the pillow.
For the book she has been reading
for over a year to topple to the floor.
But somehow my sister made it,
and winter made her even more vicious
and cunning and powerful.
When my sister moves her tiny, milky hands
it sounds like paper tearing.
She sees each rip between her fingers
as a success. She smiles past the pain.
The blood takes forever to clot
into rusted stains on her hungry skin.
Everything about her is feather fragile,
but she is mighty in guarding her illness.
She has teeth collected in a washed out
jam jar on her nightstand. She adds new ones
when no one is looking.
Her condition makes her as unreliable
as a ghost.
When my sister smiles she smiles
more than you or I.
She uses all of the muscles
in her face.
She looks like a nightmare,
with the black gaps in her little mouth
behind the blue hole of her lips.
My sister lives upstairs,
drifting in a sea of bed covers and pillows.
We live downstairs,
whispering to each other that she will pull through,
but each one knows the other
The lantern of recovery
went out a long time ago.
Now, it’s just a matter of time,
dark, horrible, excruciating time
before my sister’s fight with her life ends.