My sister was married in the back yard
between the trees where the hammock used to swing.
I traded secrets there with a friend from another age
before I knew that “best” could be transmuted
when knotted ropes begin to fray.
She was beautiful and quiet, Aphrodite laughing
at the weak sobs of her sister, touched perhaps
by the way I must have loved the very grass
that kissed her floating hem, the soil that stained
the perfect satin heels we’d labored to find together.
He kissed her then, my brother so long coming, like
I’d kissed a boy there but not like that at all.
We’d been finding our way. They were drawing maps.
We danced on the driveway that broke our backs in winter,
and when it rained, we watched the pavement deepen to black
like fast-rotting walnuts at the edge of the property line.
The man I called husband smoked cigars with my father.
I should have known I should have missed him,
but I was home and free.
We don’t live there now.
She doesn’t like to think about the creaking pantry door
we could never pack into boxes.
But I remember the way the house looked upside down
while hanging from my knees on the swing set bar,
and I remember she said “promise”
and he said “promise”
and rendered the concrete path imaginary
as they reapportioned home,
welded their fingers with iron skin.