Channeling My Sister

“You’re not even dead, are you?” I think to ask
as my cappuccino mug slips to the floor.
“Of course not,” she says, “we talked a few days ago.”
“Yeah, but people die suddenly,” I say,
feeling very defensive. I wonder if I’ll have to trot out
car crash statistics, suicides, etc. It’s her mind
controlling my hands, now busy with the broken mug
and a towel for the liquid.
“I’ve never had a cappuccino,” she says.
“I can make another one,” I tell her, “though Dennis
makes the best ones. That man knows how to froth.”
“Where is your husband, by the way?” she asks.
“You keep your hands off him,” I say, “It’s not like
we grew up together, and learned how to share things.”
“True,” she sighs, running my hands through my hair.
“How’s therapy going?” I ask.
“You asked me that on Wednesday,” she says.
“Yeah, but I was thinking now that I’m channeling you,
you might have more to say than ‘oh, it’s fine,’” I say.
“You don’t want any of the gruesome details, do you?”
she asks. “That’s what’s left. The gruesome details.”
I suppose I don’t want that. “But is it helping?” I say.
“Oh, I guess so,” she says, in her way that means no.
“Do you have any cigarettes?” she says.
“I don’t smoke,” I say, wondering how she couldn’t know that,
and exactly what does she think my life is like?
“But we could go get some,” I add. I want to be helpful.
Maybe this is my one chance, and I could smoke a cigarette for her.
“You really do look like me,” she says, though it’s obvious to anyone
that I’m the prettier one. “That’s mean,” she says.
I’m not sure how to keep my thoughts to myself.
I’m not sure of protocol here.
At least I have the box of cookies stashed away
for unexpected guests. “Cookie?” I ask.
“Don’t mind if I do,” she says.


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