Lindsay Vaughan

Mother and father
joined by the hands of Eleanor—
she buys the diapers
and the car
and the house.
She writes a check for everything.

She keeps stale potato chips
in a glass jar on the kitchen table.
And though she loved us all,
she invented her own truths:

Jennifer is not a lesbian;
Susan is not crazy;
David really loves me;
apologies are not needed.

I had a sister once,
but she was taken away
because the excitement of Eleanor
caused her to vomit all over the front steps.
Her picture was kept in a drawer in the living room—
“She might be in Ohio‚Ķ or maybe New York.”

They’re both locked in my memories,
of third and fourth and fifth birthday parties,
of candy bracelets and grandpa’s stories,
and shoving my face into a chocolate cake.

Maybe I could have stopped her from falling,
but now I keep her face inside a gold pocket—
a reminder of the many times she nursed me back to health—
a little girl lying in Nana’s sheets,
called to arms soft and translucent.


“I am a nineteen year old American girl, currently living in Leeds, England. I work in a pokey little book store in the city centre, and spend most of my spare time reading, writing and meditating. My husband and I run an online literary publication, called dreamvirus magazine.” E-mail: lindsay[at]dreamvirus.com.

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