Sister, Be With Us
We took turns breathing.                                                      Like bulbs  
                                     in a fisherman’s net                her body 
  
                                     we bore                ropes in our mouths 
         wiped our footprints                                           from the bruised sand 
          
                            we flew until our plumage                        turned cirrus. 
Mother did not find us—                     
  
                                     only a watermark                                      of sea foam 
                   remarked on what it saw.                          We grazed our cheeks               
  
                            against her wrists          broke apart the hoarfrost. 
The fingers of a girl wrinkle differently. 
  
                                               She woke to salt                     at her ankles 
                   a loom                                    in the room of a field               
  
                            seven swans                  in the absence of brothers. 
We licked her threshed hands each night 
  
                                     loved like lake water inside the mouth of a bear 
  
         a stake in the yard                                                       the nettles against her skin. 
                            When we came for her           she cast nets like shirts— 
  
Each of us was noble born once.               
                                                                 The milk on our tongues tastes of sand. 
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