OLDER SISTER

Because I have a sister I will always be a sister 

I keep this thought to myself 

a careful exhibit 

the month split in half by lightning 

I’d like one beautiful word set apart 

mountainside, for instance 

the month tips into rainstorm 

am I more air or more water? 

we attempt collaboration with the weather 

it circumscribes us 

gauzy and unstructured 

sister, my love for you is sleeveless 

there are more spacious arenas within us 

we hold them and we wave 

from across the pool 

I’m thinking more and more of islands 

what is it that I can’t say? 

I’d like to circle the mountain with you

inside your lungs you cloudburst 

all around the forest 

of your northern college town 

your path is deliberate and inclusive 

you circumnavigate 

the bay the town stands in monument to 

when I triangulate our position 

relative to the ocean 

it’s you inside the triangle 

and me inside the triangle 

and the ocean outside 

accommodating our island 

the month distributes one day of sun 

a monument to delight 

a new season becoming visible 

I wonder what nature 

of imperceptible storms 

gather on your horizon 

because we exist in different rooms 

a screen streams our faces

toward each other 

we carry the space between 

so it does not damage 

so that it barely knows

what is it that I can’t say? 

things expansive and formal 

for instance 

we are both a part of 

and witness to 

the largest kinds of water 

when you go to the mountain 

it’s important to bring a compass 

a lamp in your room beams softly 

across half of your face 

as you reiterate to me 

your fears about snowstorms 

in the face of vast systems I am helpless 

you walk cliffside and close your eyes 

for a few seconds 

trace for me the diagrams

in your science textbook 

tilt into the evening with me 

are we more air or more water? 

when you’re running hard up a mountain 

when fear overwhelms you 

when you come undone 

what is it that I can say? 

I would build you a monument 

that we are living 

in the day’s bright spaces 

that there are territories within us 

the world can not injure 

that even while we are sleeping 

the sky is creating more gorgeous structures

Hanna Shea