Sister by Hannah Hackney



We grew up at the same time so
more and more she’ll call
and ask remember that time.
Remember when.

It’s a call into form, a summons. It condenses,
with her help it comes
clearer, like two images in overlay,

a small hand, mine,
clasped in a big one, grandpa’s
rubbing circles on the house paint stain
in the centre of the palm
with a rag. Turpentine
gets it off easy, he said,
the little hand limp
against the motion.

Remember is like
being at the eye doctor,
peering through,
lenses snapping into vision.

The pencil shape on
the paper mother used
to trace our feet for slippers.


Sometimes she’ll say
something wasn’t right
about it.

It’s elusive, a
glimpse caught around a corner
from a mirror in a mirror:

all we have is
a name I liked the sound of,
a quiet, tooth-set anger
in a house we didn’t know,
a sick feeling in the car on the way home.

We work at it,
coming closer.

Halving the distance that remains.

Remember is like
discovering water
as you surface.

by Hannah Hackney

Twitter: @hehackney

Editor’s Note: This poem emphasizes one word twice—Remember. This technique draws the central theme of the narrative into sharp focus: memory is shared.

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