The Trophy

We all wanted to hold it,
the glassy remains of mom’s
wedding vase.
It should never have leapt off the edge of the counter
as we runwayed ‘round the kitchen.
But, somehow it had
and now, it would never hold flowers,
although I don’t remember it ever holding

“Take it to the trash, already,”
she complained
between the puffs and ashes
of my childhood.
All three of us dived towards the precious,
pulling and twisting
handfuls of hair
tangled limbs like rubber bands
twisted wild beauties
fighting over their mother’s scraps.

My older sister came up with the prize,
her birth order unfair advantage.
She cradled my mother’s hopes
in her long fingers,
sneering and spinning,
raising the treasure over her head
before taking off through the yard,
a prize pony on her victory lap,
braids bouncing behind.

We never saw her fail;
the spike of glass through her leg
but we tried to towel up blood,
shades of red forming a rainbow–
fear on a frozen lawn.
I smiled when the sirens arrived,
revenge tattooed on her thigh,
stitches an unhatched cocoon of failure.
The same that followed her through
dropouts, knock-ups, and lock-outs.

But, I was the second daughter
learning to bide my time,
learning that first doesn’t always mean best.

Rival Sons “Shooting Stars”


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