My Sister Would Have Been 45 Today
From Karaoke Funeral
At the mailbox I’m disappointed,
only a postcard of a missing child.
If I recognized her, had to alert
the authorities, tell them,
She stands behind my daughter
in the third grade chorus,
maybe I wouldn’t feel this
strange compulsion to steal
my neighbors’ mail, wander
up the street as gray and vacant
as my ex-husband’s flannel pajamas,
slip all the envelopes into my pocket
like a fistful of gold chains.
Last night’s dream reminds me
I’d never be suspected:
Two a.m. on Fennel Street,
waiting for the red light to change,
I saw reassembled Kelly
in my rear-view mirror,
sprawled out in the back seat,
drinking a Budweiser, blonde curls
grown back like a Miracle Mop,
chiding, Run it, Goody Two-shoes
—not another car for miles!
Like when we were children,
raised on rules strict as metal flags,
she always breaking them, and me,
older, afflicted with Compliance.
And no cars passing now
on Parsley Lane, as I thumb through
the Owens’ J. Crew, a Visa bill,
an invitation to Chuck E. Cheese.
Suddenly, it’s not enough, stealing mail.
I want to cut class, smoke dope,
fail Personal Hygiene and Driver’s Ed,
I want to go down on the boy with the biggest
mouth in school, then cruise around the suburbs
and smash my mailbox with a baseball bat.