to my sister, on the anniversary of my death

to my sister, on the anniversary of my death

Photo by Roberto Nickson / Unsplash

Today I watched you place stargazer lilies under my tree, that delicate birch which you transplanted from our backyard to my favorite skipping stone spot at Little Bear Pond to honor me a year ago. And as you stood there, drunk and helpless, I ached over the things you can’t understand.

As a pedestrian I was vulnerable and small; he sat up high in a plundering steel truck. I know you think the witnesses were unqualified, or that the driver hid something sinister from the police. But it was an accident. The night was wet and foggy and as I scrolled carelessly through Chopin on my iPod – always distracted, you used to tease – I forgot to look both ways before I crossed the street.  These facts are unbearable; you’re trapped in a cruel fiction where I am the victim of someone else’s neglect.

Now I watch as you start each day with a shot of bourbon and end it crumpled on the kitchen floor, struggling against cold marble. Several months ago the phone company reassigned my number to a man who’s blocked you but you still dial it anyway, your desperation emboldened by alcohol. Your universe is deaf to the pleading voices of mine.

In my last, interminable moment, I remembered that time when we lay by the pool and explored the salty skies, a pattern of stars stitched into a vast, lethargic blanket. Those same stars drifted closer and closer until I could touch them, their particles thick and soft like the first snowflakes of winter. My scalp felt warm and oily and when I heard you scream I saw that the oil was scarlet and though it must’ve been blood, I didn’t feel any pain at all.

As you cradled me in that motionless landscape, I finally let go of the things I couldn’t understand: the fictions I’d held onto, a multitude of contradictions I’d never resolve.

My dear little sister, I hope that your grief is less palpable soon.