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“If you don't live what you sing about your mirror is gonna find out” — Ani di Franco

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Drawing of Brett Axel by Mike Chicona. All rights reserved.

Brett Axel Brett Axel


Rinilla

My sister tells me she kept an old
stuffed animal from when
we were kids. When she brings it up,
I do remember finding it together,
left at the cannon in the center
of town. A lost or forgotten
loved one, I'd think, but at the time
it was just an abandoned.
We played the 'I saw it first game.'
I saw it when we were walking up
I saw it when we were down the block
I saw it when we left the house
I saw it in the delivery room at birth
I saw it when god said let
there be light
You couldn't have, there is no god.
“Rinilla” she says, as if I should
remember its name as she does,
and when I don't she gets a little angry
maybe a little hurt. I don't know my sister now
any more than I know Rinilla. It has been
a long time since I felt the regret
of our losing each other.
At first I didn't think it would be so long.
Eventually I accepted
we just remind each other
of things better left forgotten.
We are 40, more or less, she and I.
Old enough to no longer feel
the need to blame anyone
for what happened to us.
I kept no objects to remind me
of our awful childhood.
Didn't feel the need to.
I don't know how to tell my sister
how little I am sorry
that Rinilla is not part of my life.
Or how very sorry I am
that she saved the toy instead of me.