The Year of the Ox

she died
during the growing season
in the Year of the Dog

That's how I remember dates now
since the days are felt simple
kept silenced by the mirror

I imagine her hand, creeping up
from the dank earth, as her brother
joins her, family at rest

Each time there is a death in me
the vitriolic grin of the oldest,
crushing the unknowing opponent, I play
no chess. No game. No more fear or care
half my blood but filled with bile and

the death of hope
thinking full blood would somehow
Show the truth to the willing

At least compassion for the silenced
destroyed by uneven edges crags, slip rock
the entrance of your caves

she killed me many years ago, not
telling me why, or that it would come
in the dark shadows of gasping for air in the night
when she promised to be there, when they said they understood

my place of rest will never be near your hatred
and the poison you spewed, those who would listen
and those who had no choice
bones turned to dust and ash
of a sister's life

year of the dog, I am water snake
I have never told the secrets
that you fear so much
to discredit me this badly

still, I keep the silence
Dante clear to me now
your self efficacy will never see
a life of gasping for anything to breathe
a life alone, never a shelter
a life chosen, yes but one not closed

your sickness is your end
I lived with mine since before I knew you
each day faced death, did you not see
a life spent taking care of a disease that
deserved no time but took all of mine away

and now, you are finally dead to me
Year of the Ox, my strongest one yet
when I plant the seeds this year and
live by the seasons that the earth bring

No more will your hatred enter my home or my soul

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