Easter Portrait (poetry)

All gone to oranges now
once flamed with pink on spring green tendrils
that climbed our matching dresses to touch
the shocking white of our lacy bib collars
accented at the throat with plum satin bows.
My sister smiles a broad white that reflects
my broken child’s hair. I smile with my teeth
out a touch. Light bounces from the lenses of my
half-transitioned Coke bottles, near permanently
dim, to one of my sister’s neatly arranged
auburn Botticelli curls—one twist of many
about her I envy.

We each have one hand on a taxidermy-stiff,
red eyed plush bunny the photographer
shoved between us to encourage
something shared and quiet.
The closest he got us to sisterhood that day
was leaned-away touching at the shoulder—
the furthest torso point from our hearts.

All gone to adulthood now
and Valentine’s Day vacuum cleaners
received with kisses like hand cut doilies,
my sister and I have become
pre-midlife reawakened to something like
crystal-sucking New Agers without
the liberalism, too much nature stuff,
or any urgent concerns about the patriarchy.

I step off the train on a wet, sky-spitting Saturday night
to celebrate my sister’s 29th-again birthday.
There is streaked silver in the puddles through which
the train runs, upside down, loping on to LA.
My sister wears a demure sweater as accent
to a royal purple petticoat that flounces
in the whoosh of the train.
I wear an oversized silver lotus petal with seven
fake stones masking a magnifying glass behind.
We hug.

-M. Ashley

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