Carrie DeBacker, Hummingbirds (gouache on paper)

I was the child with bright red paws
Among tree roots I slumbered
Waited decades for mother to come
Mother made me black lace
Taught me love is a bruise
What kind of home is it where children daydream
About being pets
My sister wanted to be a cat
I jumped around the house gnawing on cabbage
My nickname was bunny
She got skinny I got fat
In the closed space of the upstairs hallway
At night she crossed the threshold
She came into our room
And lay in bed with my sister
Said she wanted to be the girl again
Pretended she was one of us
At the end of the world the sun
Looming orange
I stand with my mother
Her eyes glazed black
Pools looking past me
“They’re all dead” I tell her
Our shadows erased in a flash
Of radioactive brilliance
We’ll be together she says
She digs her nails like pincers into my wrist
She hands me the blue cup with the poison in it


Rachel Sahaidachny