For my sister
A middle child falls
between a tick and a tock
a right foot, a left
a hard place and a rock
a descant, a bass clef.
I watched your firstborn feet go first, your older, steady steps
on flagstones, hay bales, playground grit, on oak and birch,
through waspy orchards, Robin’s church,
in blazers, blazing purple, purple skirts. You were first.
First love, first born, first girl, first blessed
first bonfire, daisies in a chain, first bliss
first he loves me, he loves me not, first
hearts carved deep, first sighs, first kiss.
We store our days
in memory jars, in larders
shrunken apples, treats
our million steps, our fifty years
safe in the dark.
Safe, and sweet.