Today's poem is by Valerie Bandura

Now You See It Now You Don't

The first time my sister lost it
and wrote whatever it was she wrote
across her walls in chicken-scratch cursive, hypnotized,
my parents closed the door to her room
to publicize the permanent change in our lives.
The miraculous warrants such recognition.

After, I snuck in to finger like Braille
the letters looped in the grain of her door,
the vowels in the scoured door knob, faint scratches
way up by the ceiling. But before she fractured

and was gone half the year, each year for fifteen years,
on Sunday mornings, my father, still weary from sleep,
would read to us from The Spring Hope Tribune
the stories of pyrotechnics gone wrong, thefts, a drowning,
the child calling, hurry, hurry, to which he'd say,
It's not the black stripe of the zebra you prepare for.

That weekend, holed up in her room
he tore the sandpaper into squares, attended to each word
until he sanded them to dust, parted his lips
and blew as hard as a man could
who cannot make it right.

Copyright © 2014 Valerie Bandura All rights reserved
from Freak Show
Black Lawrence Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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