Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

ephemera, etcetera

by Jan Lamberg

My sister sends me things,
reminders of who I am
to her—a  bag here, a box of letters there;
maybe missing body parts
from the family attic will come next:
my left ovary, many wisdom teeth (all mine?!)
the plantar’s wart excavated
when I was nine.

How to tell her I am like a lobotomy survivor–
this now flooding heart and mind
the anesthesia, all I’m left with,
amnesia.

From the last round of watermarked cardstock,
accordion-wrinkled onionskin,
comes Cécile’s laugh, ringing off  the sweaty windows
of l’Université de Tours;
& there’s Uschi’s Christmas Eve party
in candlelit Augsburg, her mother whispering for us to unplug
appliances, even the toaster, so she could sleep;
& Jocelyne, her curly black mane,
booted gait leading me up the road to her grandfather’s
sheep, the hilly pasture more
a coral reef floating above
a landlocked sea.

I laugh til I cry when I see Violet,
from my undergraduate years;
we’re in the bowels of
North Jersey & she’s the first of 10 to attend college—
how we would joke about our Spanish
stinking like Pig Latin–

how to tell the only sister left to me that I don’t
remember growing up
at all.