Casandra Lopez

“Sister Song”


Sister Song 

Promise that you will sing about me  -Kendrick Lamar 


I am not much more than a promise of a song,
that Brother never asked me to sing, our forever song, 

but the crack of streets is sometimes a prison,
it wasn’t always this way, me swallowing a far song. 

Once your neighbor friend chewed a lightbulb and didn’t
cry. His child mouth smiled, a glass cracked marred song, 

close to lips. On the 4th of July you used to like to light
the streets on fire, we’d become bright-–a North star song. 

These days I stay inside when there is too much noise,
shattered bottles or loud ariel dances; I become a scarred song 

remembering Brother, a street number tattooed to your arm
you can’t rub off. It inks my own, a tarred song, 

that never feels clean. Once you trucked a load of fireworks
across borders. Mother forbid it, not wanting you to become a barred song, 

imprisoned light. Sometimes I grow tired, all the singing, want to witness
the sky boom, flare and burn, want to hear you call me Sister again.



“He Tells Me”


He tells me:


This is not a break
up. But tonight lover sounds like
leave her. A directive, that will soon 

turn to past tense: left her.
He showers with the door cracked
open but I don’t know if he hears 

my unease–I am a full moon tonight
wanting to silence water. He once told me
that he caught a taste of me on his lips 

the day after and smiled–the salty part
of me wouldn’t leave him
for days. Except now I am rinsed down 

the drain and I don’t have to look to
know he’s dirtying my towels, trying
to hide the evidence, rolling the towel back

into the closet but I always know what he
has touched. We played at control. We played
at hurt. We played on my brown–the sweetness

of his capitulation. I learned to desire
his docility, but tonight I learn I am still
a woman that can be left

and there will be no birds to sing
a goodbye song just the steady surge
of cars on city streets that he once described

as an ocean wave. He pockets his phone
and the toilet continues to run–-
a constant circling of the drain.

Polite goodbyes. He detangles himself from
my words–keep in touch becomes an awkward
arm and mine still want to reach out even as I watch

him put on his shoes and zip his jacket.
The water still won’t stop. I turn off
the valve after he leaves.


Casandra Lopez