Bed-Making by James Claffey

I had a twin once, a fire haired sister who knew my thoughts before they formed on my lips as crude expressions of desire. She died on the edge of reason, her tiny heart split in two where the pinprick was found. When my mother beat the tiny coffin with her fists the hollow bangs failed to rouse my sister. The brass plate had only her name and the three years of her short life inscribed in florid script. The doctor said there was nothing he could have done. The lawyer with the office beside the butcher's shop disagreed. He said the doctor smelled of drink and was not to be trusted.

The house became my mother’s prison, her life sentence. She made my sister's bed the day after the funeral, and the day after that, and for every other day. The radio hissed and kicked to the weather forecast. Stormy at first, scattered showers with winds from the Northeast. The call of a great horned owl rippled across the field as I attached the hood to my anorak and walked the mile to sister's grave.


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