Eleven, your age of sleeveless sparkle tops and sundown
sneakers, even the lemon of the walls in your home
couldn’t tell you which way little sister should hit
the piñata, or how much corn from the can mom would slip
on your dinner plate. Dad still combed his hair to the left,
talked Nixon and Watergate like the wood cabinets
were listening, and you were pushing the peas to the edge
of the China dish as he said, Son, couldn’t you wear
a baseball jersey instead of them dandy sparkles,

and the shaggy mutt next door sang to the rooftops
of other dogs. You tilted your head to sister playing
with the cheeks of her dress, thought about all those gummy fish
 she hopes to find when she hits the belly of a hanging horse,
and how she’ll kneel down with graveled knees and scarlet
fingers to gather what she can in the small of her arms. You
dosey-doed from your plate up to the staircase, lifted
the dirt-painted horse from your sill. Mom taught you once
how to ride, but you only remember the earthquake of your legs
and the ground crumbling like an unfinished jigsaw. The posters
of baseball brilliants, the stars of other stars, were not tacked
into place by calloused hands of your own, but instead
melted into the wallpaper as models for who you could be. Just look
at them son, you could be all that they are, you could
even be more.
You moved your horse around the bedpost,
made trotting sounds with your teeth and your tongue
as the greats hung like ghosts on the wall.


by Lauren Weiler

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