My Sister Drives Me Home after Thanksgiving Dinner at Our Father’s House

after Marie Howe

The car is lit red and white in an underwater glow of taillight, when I ask
                if you remember the day we found our brother. Three years old and playing
                                  in the railings at the top of the staircase. His whole
                                                   little body fit through except his head. He was still

toeing the ledge in tiny gold-toed socks, when we pulled him back
                 through to us. You remember. Sister, I know
                                   we both have so many reasons not to believe
                                                   in God. The old fatherbruises down all arms. The little brother,

dead at sixteen. The day after our grandfather died, when two airplanes
                 spilled the Twin Towers down onto Manhattan, you said, “Maybe
                                his ghost was there pulling people out of those burning buildings.”
                                            Sister, there is no such thing as this family whole again.

The damage is irreparable. But shard to shard, I want to tell you that, if nothing else,
            I know there is a rhythm to the universe. In this water, things will buoy
                        back up. Beneath that big tree, our brother kicked a chair
                            out from under his feet, but again, someone was there to pull him through to

somewhere safe. I’m sure of it.


Kathryn Leland is a poet from Austin, Texas. She received her BA  from Hendrix College and now works as an Associate Editor with Sibling Rivalry Press. Her debut chapbook "I Wore the Only Garden I’ve Ever Grown" is out now from Headmistress Press.