Carrie Jerrell

Love Poem for My Sister


I'm stuck, you say, meaning the stars won't brook
your all-night arguments, your pleas for one less day spent carrying

your worries like bricks in the grocery sack of your heart. I broke
our mother's water first and wish this meant my words carried

more than a gas bag's nasalized tune, a fat wheeze played at break-
neck speed on a station fuzzed by static; wish it meant my own carrion

comfort could count for yours. It doesn't. Despair is a back-alley broker
with a slow chokehold, and every deal he makes is raw. Careless

in love, I've unbuttoned in many a matinee for him, unzipped in brackish
winds, been turned by the blade of his shadow into the bloodiest carnage.

You are a better woman, yet he haunts the brake
at your soul's cliff edge all the same. Though I care

too little for pretense to pretend my arms are anything but broken,
I excel at bootstrap resurrections and the sturdy duty of my name,

so when the small stream of your own floods to menacing swells, Brooke,
my best sister, through that cold and rising water, I will carry you.