and I learned there was no cast
to mend a spirit, no flashlight
to guide you out of a cave that dark,
my older sister unwilling to bathe
for weeks, my parents unwilling
to make her, her heart swelling,
she said, to the size of a pineapple.
Some nights I imagined rats
gnawing on it whenever I heard
her sobbing through the walls.
I felt like a witness to a crime,
watching her try to disentangle
herself from an invisible web,
blasting his lullabies as if to drown
out the noise in her head, my sister,
sixteen, found something ancient
right there in our house and
it seemed like she had run away
to another state. I didn’t know
its name. Or how to get there.
But knew if I found her, there
would be no bus to take me
MICHAEL MONTLACK is the author of two poetry collections and editor of the Lambda Finalist essay anthology My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them (University of Wisconsin Press). Recently, his poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, december, The Offing, Cincinnati Review, and Poet Lore. This year his poem won the Saints & Sinners Poetry Award (for LGBTQ writers).