It’s hard to stay awake
the darkness and the wind
the white line of the 395
I’ve been playing music trying to drown out the silence
that consumes all of us.
our aunt offers to have us stay
when we drop her off in Loyalton at midnight
but I know
I need to be in my own bed
when I wake up in the morning.
We make it as far as Quincy.
The silence was for my aunt and now that she was home
It was time for my sister to reprise all ills , all mine, all
on the road in front of us.
Where was I taking her? Why?
I didn’t hear her words anymore
I just heard her talking and talking
her hand on the door handle
her face twitching
We are a half hour from my house
She’s screaming into the night
How everyone is against her
including me. It’s one am now.
She’s flailing toward me
flare in the road style
a sign of something wrong
I wanted her gone
back out of my life as she was for 7 years
back in a memory even earlier
I want her to be 11, or 16, or sometimes
where she’s not screaming and
threatening to jump from a moving car
she wanted herself as gone as I did.
I pulled over not being able to drive and
watch her arms flail across the wheel
at the same time. She jumped out and screamed.
I got out my phone and called 911
I’d never been threatened for my life before.
I am suddenly a mother and she a teenager
and the screams hit the ice and the snow
and her bare flip flopped feet
and I want to leave her there
in the cold night
she sees the blue and red lights moving
my betrayal of her and she takes off running into the night
the cops say they’ll find her. go home.
i’m happy that someone has told me something
that i can do.
in the morning I will know that she checked into a motel
in the morning things of mine will be missing
in the morning i will regret much more
I drive the last 30 minutes home
with the window rolled down
the cold air keeping me alert
and this moment of my sister
frozen in time.