Olan Mills

Once I wore a dead girl’s dress;
elastic bands loose on alabaster limbs.
The flash of a bulb captured
a sash of yellow ribbon and
eyes of rainless oceans.

The portrait hung there
submerging memories
of the daughter who came before me.

Her chance to fill the puffy sleeves,
stripped in evening slumber.
A babe drifted into black velvet
lined with stone, wood, and earth.

My Mother’s arms barren;
Daddy’s apple rotting,
leaving never a bite for me.
Still, I ache for the embrace
of her hand-me-down dress
on my skin once more.

A faded photograph,
on a pale yellow wall
is my only connection to
a ghost I call sister.

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