I hold my sister’s hand as we walk in the frigid December air and think, I died once. (I know how to think these things with a straight face and not breathe a word.)
I was young and scared, I think, but I had not been innocent for a long time.
The wind does not howl tonight and I think, I died once.
Build me a city, I want to scream, call it Something Like Paradise. (The night I died, I want to say but don’t, you were young and protected by your belief that I had abandoned you.)
We walk into a restaurant, order pizza. She smiles at me bathed in a soft light and I want to cry, I died once. (I flat lined and came back and you thought I had abandoned you that day when I sent you away but I was dying and you were sleeping because you were so, so, so beautifully young and I was on my own.)
My sister takes my hand, squeezes my fingers gently, doesn’t say she loves me, doesn’t say she misses me, doesn’t know I was beyong salvation once upon a December.
We walk back outside, the temperature has dropped and I pull her close to me. She’s squeezing my hand and a fleeting memory of her running to me when she was five years old flashes through my mind. I look at the other people walking alongside us and I want to scream at them, build me a city and call it Something Like Paradise.
We take the subway, I suppress a sob. (Build me a haven, call it Something Like Paradise.) As we step out of the subway she smiles and I think, I died once.