in this poem my sister doesn’t die

By Meredith Herndon

so i keep renewing her favorite book
on our shared library card. she’s always been
a slow reader, so i take comfort in watching time
twitch at 37% read, ignoring the warning
someone else is now waiting for the book.
weeks slide by, slick with patterns.
mail arrives in the box, the dog barks—what’s the harm
in routine? mortar between bricks. i pretend
we still have time. i text her
did you see the fucking moon tonight?
and sleep easy in the silence until she responds
in the morning with a picture
of bread she baked, meaning yes. we used to live
close enough to share, surprise each other
with a noteless loaf on the doorstep. unceremoniously
the library takes its book off my shelf. i go to the kitchen
and cut a slice from the still-warm moon.

Headshot of Meredith Herndon

Meredith Herndon is a writer, editor, and amateur baker raised near Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California Davis, where she won the Celeste Turner Wright Poetry Award sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Her work examines generational trauma, grief, religion, and the quicksand of family ties. Her poems have been published in Faultline, Sundog Lit, Copper Nickel,, and elsewhere. Meredith currently lives in Virginia with her exceptionally sweet dog and husband.

Join the conversation!

Once or twice a month — we only send newsletters when we have things to communicate — we send announcements, opportunities, and inspirations.

Thanks for signing up! Oops! Something went wrong, please try again.