• Sarah Van Arsdale

April 21,2022



And then there’s my other sister,

my father’s first daughter,

drifting, a sea-tossed medusa,


tendrils trailing beneath the waves.

Or I could think of her

untethered as star-scattered dust

speckling across the night sky’s dark skirts.

I can still hear her voice,

her adopted Southern lilt.


She decompensated, as the doctors say.

Decompensated, as if

the composition of what made her, her,

could fall away,

floating out to a farther shore

like the lilies on the pond

behind the barn.

When I was small,

she laced up my skates

---hand-me-downs from her---

and wobbled me onto the ice

hand in mittened hand.


I didn’t really know her then

just as I don’t know her now.

But I remember how

she’d make water colors bleed

and bloom

as if she knew an alchemy

no one else could see

or understand.


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