My sister steals.
She steals food from the pan, food from my plate, takes
finger-quick nips of chicken and peas and
hisses when she gets caught in the steam, then
smirks and licks her lips.
She steals clothes.
Steals them and wears them proud, wears them hard, like
they’re hers to ruin and rip and stain,
to sweat in and shrug on and have peeled off her, then leave puddled and
dazed on her bedroom floor.
I want them back badly, and I take them too, but
she has a way of moulding the world, and now my clothes fit her form.
I knew when she took my boyfriend’s t-shirt
that he wasn’t mine anymore.
I only ever took one thing from her, surely the worst of all:
a pair of battered ballet shoes,
sweat-yellowed and frayed and bent, with tide-line blood stains on wooden blocks and
two soles arching up like lovers. She broke them in
with blistered skin, with crippled toes that she hid on hot summers and
bones that ground sweet and slow.
And when she came home, she laid them to rest,
nestled together like Russian dolls in a tissue papered shoebox.
I took them
and I tried to put them back, but
somehow the shoes wouldn’t go.
That’s what we do: we take and we tear ‘til it’s just us girls,
scrapping for bones.
• • •
Joanna Jones works backstage as a theatre technician and is currently studying international politics at Aberystwyth University in Wales. She has had work displayed in the Aval Ballan gallery and published in Popshot magazine, and has been nominated for the 2014 Forward Literary Prize (Single Poem category).
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