cuts in places hard to reach covers my skin. they cover the
pigmentation grown from neglect.
my mother lacks color in her cheeks; they told her to die
on the vanity stand she set up for the future, curling hair ribbons
and clogging drain pipes with dark hair.

i thought i was adopted until i was 16
          hair too fair       to belong
and skin too pale               to match
                  what a laugh

cancer spreads like fungus in bloodlines. i have seen
more dead eyes eaten of tumors than eyes full of
joy, childlike staring into chestnut trees.
the next death will be my own, closed casket and burnt
with the letters i’ll never send.
a martyr’s becoming.

my sister is younger, the smile missed and found. she’s
the floorboard laid to rest, the last piece of a puzzle, a brick
in the wall. finishing the touch of two.
i shield her from my own mistakes, but they bleed into
the wood. cold water will cleanse if she let it
cure of my diseases.

i can’t remember most of my past
lies and harsh words echo / echo / echo
bro      ken brooms
                            and fingers
grip on my arm “behave! or wait for me on
                                        the other side!”

the reality a slanted mirror brings, will not bring
satisfaction for the easily mislead mind. she scatters
her fingers across my waist, it’s now my job
to pick up nail clippings.
i eat them under the stairs and remind myself
of the future i yearn for
has been replaced with artificial sweeteners and
papier-mâché heads.

moved from one room to another, restlessness
settling into bones and cracked joints
- nothing feels like home
- nothing belongs to me
- nothing is sacred

i was nothing before my mother, and nothing after her.