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Friday, April 19, 2013


by Mitch Grabois

I was always disgusted by my younger sister
a sloppy teenager,
by the time she graduated high school
the kind of girl that develops a sense of humor
to compensate for all the good things in life
her lack of self-discipline denies her

Somewhere along the way she developed the habit
of slapping her knee when she finds something funny
the only person I’ve ever known who takes
“That’s really a knee-slapper” literally

Over the years, though, I took a kinder view of her
as my own self-discipline slipped
eroded by divorce and an ever-weakening relationship with my son
Her crutch was food, mine drink

Then, at age thirty-eight, something happened to her
I suspect she fell in love
and was spurned
as a fatty

She began running
became increasingly fanatic
ran early in the morning before work
and sometimes in the evening after work
in rain
snow, swelter
Sweat ran from her, detoxification

She became as beautiful as
our mother in her youth

Me, I met a divorcee who owns a house on Cape Cod
Her voice is aristocratic
and she openly despises most people
though she accepts me,
my flaws and foibles
a mirror image of hers

That morning
we were both badly hung-over
She stepped on her Shi’ Tzu’s foot, it yelped
and she burst into tears
but I’d promised my sister
we’d come see her finish the Boston Marathon
013 her lucky number

I didn’t recognize her at first
with frosted hair

Then I pointed her out to my new paramour
and we watched her approach the finish line
but tenacious

The earth lurched
and because I’d lived so long in California
I thought: earthquake

but instantaneously I heard thunder, saw smoke
 and my sister’s legs
--what were they doing?—
making a sprint for the finish line on their own?

Mitch Grabois was born in the Bronx and now lives in Denver. His short fiction and poetry appears in close to two hundred literary magazines, most recently The T.J. Eckleberg Review, Memoir Journal, Out of Our and The Blue Hour. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, published by Xavier Vargas E-ditions, is available for all e-readers for 99 cents through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. A print edition is also available through Amazon.