The Last Thing My Sister Did for Me | Mary Stone

Was tell me love didn’t look like
a whiskey bottle thrown at a door,
that it didn’t smell like a frayed rug
hung on the porch through a cold rain.
She’d weave the black
black shadows in and out
of blinds and I would not
know they appeared
as if right from a woman’s mouth
or from her bones.
This was the chair
thrown against a wall
when she’d gone to bed dressed
in a T-shirt and panties
and forgot to spread
the black black
over the windows.
I would not know
how to put the door
back on its hinges,
how to patch the drywall.
That’s how the story goes:
a nail and a hammer,
a long lost lover calls,
a letter returned to sender.
She would change her name
and I’d never visit –
only send a map
marking the nearest bars.
Years before, we’d bonded
over a joint and our ability
to do enough for others
or our own bodies,
to find scars on picture frames,
to know we’d only ever been taught
to imitate love.

Mary Stone is the author of the poetry collections Mythology of Touch and One Last Cigarette and a number of chapbooks, including The Dopamine Letters  and Honey and Bandages (co-written with Katie Longofono). She currently lives in St. Joseph, MO, where she teaches English and coordinates the First Thursday Poetry Reading Series.


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