Poem: Gone Sister

Art featured above is“Carriage House” by Jean Banas, acrylic on canvas, 48″ x 52.″ Poem and art originally published in R.KV.RY Quarterly

Gone Sister

She never fell from her frantic
mare as it reared and twisted
in the mustard fields.
And when she drove high speed
in her ‘67 Karmann Ghia,
she didn’t plummet
off an unexpected cliff
at the end of Swift Street
as she flipped out on acid.

She survived her wild childhood,
divides her time
between three western states.
Summers in Coos Bay, visits in the fall
with the willing men of Kanab,
winters spent
floating across borders,
visiting boneyards of the old days
in this dirty California town,
where she learned the ways of wayward surfers,
smoked dope downtown with strangers,
searched the Boardwalk
at four in the morning
for some stringy-haired boy
to bring home.

Bull-whipped child grown bold,
cast out by her parents at eighteen
their violence aimed back at them,
when she tipped the table,
stood, screaming like Jesus
at Christmas.
Even my father’s fists
slamming her face,
my mother sending her out

into the streets
in tight lime-green pants
and a padded torpedo bra—
none of it killed her.
Without family she’s alive,
sixty-six in a jet-black wig
and Grace Slick bangs, the same
as when she was seventeen
and I was twelve,
her big dark eyes inked with liquid
eyeliner, her plump mouth
shiny with pale gloss, open,
as if calling out.

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