Eulogy for My Older Sister

You tell me it happened
in the back of a church.

Watched yourself seep
through your palms,

fingers stained with glass.
The crudest sacrifice

is the one you wrote
to yourself, to stab

from the front and back.
Your stomach is a pillar

of all things not stone: heavy
with puffed cherries,

a flower of wine,
the hair you never braided.

The uncertainty comes
in the moment after prayer,

in the moment’s rush
of stickiness. The foreign warmth

drawn from the spools
of your peach-pit stomach.

You touch your flesh
to feel the air.

The sudden lack of weight
like a bird untethered.

In a sheath of dust winging
from the rafters, you lift

your head like an animal
in feeding and wonder

why this single blessing
leaves remnants on your skin

like your thickest bruise,
a violet bracket.

Audrey Spensley lives in Avon Lake, Ohio. Her work is published or forthcoming in Vademecum Magazine, Canvas, Crashtest, and Magma, among others. She was recently named a Top 15 Foyle Young Poet of the Year and a National YoungArts winner in poetry. She has also been nationally recognized by the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and Notre Dame of Maryland University.

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