“Sistersick”

This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. One night I was missing my sister extra and I was able to express EXACTLY how I was feeling at that particular moment. (Which, if you’re a writer you’ll know, is the greatest feeling. Kind of like finally scratching an itch that has been bugging you all day.) To me, these words capture what it feels like to be homesick for a person. I realize this poem may sound really sad and maybe a little pathetic, depending on how you take it, but that wasn’t how I meant it. Honestly is a lovely, fragile thing.  

Sistersick

I have a letter in my head that I’m too proud to write you. If you could see it, it would read:

“There is a train that runs under the city, and when I ride it, I feel like I could be anybody.

The brief case headed out of town, the dirty winter coat, the empty eyes that pierce the window. I could fill any of their shoes. They don’t know me, or what I love, or where I’m going. I am nothing but a taken seat to this silver underworld.

There is a train that runs under the city, and when I ride it, sometimes I get excited because I think I am getting closer to you.

The sun rises differently here. It is born over the water and sprints across the city, leaving strings of fading light over the jagged horizon each night. I am from a world where the sun says goodnight to it’s reflection and all of my days here feel backwards. Most of my nights do too.

I know it’s impossible, but sometimes I still pretend when I’m singing to the lonely sidewalks that you are somewhere picking up the loose edges of my melody. No one completes my duet like you.

Don’t mind the spaces between the words I don’t say. I find that I’m more honest with you on the days I cancel our phone calls than the days I pick up.

I wish I could say you’d love it here, but even the stars hide their faces at night.

I’m afraid of enclosed spaces and disappointing people, which is why I don’t tell you that I spend more time taking lonely walks than changing the world. You saw me pack a bag to take on the city, but you can’t see now that the bag has stayed packed. I hope you never see.

I’m learning that home is more than a unmade bed and I’ve been listening to your heartbeat in the room over for most of my life. The absence of it now still scares me.

I wonder how long it would take for bad news to reach me. Some days I hide my phone from myself and refuse to check the mail just to test my theory. I keep my window open for the carrier pigeon, but if she gets half as lost among the skyscrapers as I do, she’ll never make it.

But there is a train that runs under the city and when I ride it, I feel like I could be anybody. Do you know what that feels like?

No one has ever believed in me like you do. Even on my lowest days you still looked up to me, and I never knew how much I needed that. I never knew.

I thought you were matching my footprints for most of your life, but now you are forging new ones and they are so much bigger than mine. You are a force of your own and I’m so proud. I realize now that you are not the echo. You were never the echo.

Somebody forgot to call you again today.

Somebody doesn’t want you to hear the tremor in her voice.

Somebody doesn’t know what long-distance love looks like.

Somebody doesn’t want you to know that

There is a train that runs under the city, and when I ride it, I feel like I could be anybody.

Three missed calls. You’re trying to sing our duet, I know. Once I teach the tone of my voice to sound like a lie, I promise I’ll call back.

There is a train that runs under the city, and when I ride it, I feel like I could be anybody.

I guess I just miss being somebody

With you.”

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7 thoughts on ““Sistersick”

  1. I’ve been texting my own sister today. I realize just how much you miss of someone else’s life when you leave for a few months. Since I’ve been gone, I think maybe she’s become a woman instead of a girl, but at the same time, the red strip I dyed in her hair a week before I left still shows.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Goodbye, 2015 – The Joyful Decrease

  3. Pingback: look mom, I’m famous | the joyful decrease

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