Volume 44 ~ 2022
 
                  

McCartney Elliott

 
 
 
 
 

Sibling Love.

 

My eyes pooled with the salty tears 

The tears you made

My throat ached

Gasping for air

Overwhelmed, my hands became tight

With shag carpet 

And hair intertwining each finger

I hate you

Another brawl 

A fight to the death

Over who sits shotgun

Or who gets to be first player

My face became wet

Will it ever be fair

He chose what show we watched last time

When can I

I remember what mom always says

But it's not fair

I slowly opened my door

 just an inch at a time

A laugh track flooded my room

My apologies became hot

I screamed down the hall

I hate you, 

I hate you to the moon and back

7-Eleven

The TV grew quiet. Another episode finished. Not that I am really watching. I can’t remember what happened in the last few. I zoned off. Lost. Interrupting my own thoughts, my stomach growled. It grew more angry each time I ignored its groan for food. It took everything out of me but I got up. I shuffled my feet to the cold desolate tile. The food stained dishes still lingered in the sink, slowly flowing out onto the counter surrounding. The fridge was full of casseroles. Some older, some newer. Nothing appetizing. I couldn’t eat tater tot casserole again. It tasted fine, but it felt like mushy oatmeal in my mouth. I closed the door watching the light go dim. Seeing her face on the fridge. All dressed up in her Easter dress with blue lingering in the corner of her mouth. 

 

I held my daughter's hand as we crossed the street. After all, she is only three. She can’t even see over the fence. Making a game of everything I see, I point to street signs asking her the colors. The long walks become a routine as an everyday occurrence. A trip to get blue slushies, the kind that stains your mouth, from the 7-Eleven that is eight blocks away from our apartment. She loves those blue slushies. When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday she just said blue. My sugar baby. Always having a sweet tooth.

 

I walked. Noticing the smaller things like before. As if she was with me. I saw the red stop sign and the house with the bright blue door. I began saying out loud the colors as if she was the one speaking. Before I knew it, I saw the orange and red seven appear between the leaves of the cottonwood trees, getting bigger with each step. The door was heavy with wind behind my back gluing it to the building. The ring of the bell on top of the door sounded and I was greeted, “Let me know if you need any help.”

 

After our snack we make our way to the playground across the street from the gas station. So fragile and so innocent, but my daughter loves the dangers. She won't say, but I know she is in pain. I see those eyes. They grow dimmer everyday. But all she knows is pain. Never been a normal baby. Just a baby who straps into heart monitors and takes handfuls of medicine at a time. She loves the playground. Would spend her whole day there if she could. Especially on the slide. She loves the feeling of the wind in her long, golden tangly hair. As soon as she reaches the gravel, she runs as quickly as her little legs can take her to the top of the twisty red slide. Watching her play and have fun makes me forget. Forget all about the beeping monitors and medications that flood our house. “Mommy! Mommy!”  


I sat down on the park bench.The bench with the broken armrest. And holes that carved into my legs. When I closed my eyes and shut the world out. I could hear her laugh. A laugh that makes you want to laugh. A laugh so genuine and pure. But, when I open my eyes I see an empty slide. Just memories linger. Like a ghost of her slowly fading each day. My cheeks become cold. Like death. Full of blue slush and the feeling of loneliness. I peeled myself off of the bench and stumbled through the gravel. I couldn’t finish it. I didn’t want to be done yet. I couldn’t let her go. I don't like the stones in my chest but I don't want to forget her. I don’t want the memories to be gone and fade away like the Sharpie on the swing set. I tossed the half eaten slush away, still holding onto her as long as my hands could. As they get colder each visit.

Green Light

 

I just brushed my hair, but who cares

I rolled the window down

And turned up the music

Why care?

The clock changes, but to us it’s still ten

We pass the same houses 

the same neighborhoods

Never getting bored

Because we love these roads 

The roads where memories are made 

The roads where your music becomes our music

And my sonic drink becomes our sonic drink

Because who cares that I’m sick, or who listened to that album first 

When you can care about what that girl did 

Or replay what happened at practice that week

Where the wheels become part of the pavement 

Never hitting the potholes and broken rails

Because we've learned from our mistakes

Of feeling like we just broke our cars

But always laughing it off

Why care?

When we have ice cream

When we have each other

We laugh harder as the night goes on

Finishing each other's sentences

Retelling the same stories 

And playing the same music

But that's what feels right 

After a while we just talk

about how to apologize 

And how to handle things

We cry and reminisce

About our past and future 

Our futures in separate cars

Going to new houses

And new neighborhoods

But for now we have each other

We have the night

And that's all we need

As we pass those same houses 

And drive those same roads