My first god was my sister. I didn’t know where she was.
She would vanish and reappear, my holy spirit.
Her absence, a creek of small prayers
I trickled to her: don’t leave me alone.
I lived in the Jerusalem of her bedroom
beneath the portrait of a sundressed girl.
Was it her? I wouldn’t know.
When I wore her Juicy sweatsuit, I looked
nothing like her. I waited for a voice
to say, “Sleep in my room, rest in my bed.”
I waited to run into her on a Tuesday street—
sister girl, sister hands, sister head heavy in my arms.
And the streets stayed full of her.
And I believed she was my sin.
And people with her name flooded my days
so that when she came home, nobody saw a miracle:
a woman at the edge of a bed,
her voice: “Get out of my room.”
Lily Greenberg is a poet from Nashville, Tennessee and the author of In the Shape of a Woman (Broadstone Books 2022). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in New England Review, On the Seawall, Cortland Review, and Eco Theo Review, among others, and she is the 2023 prize winner of the Iron Horse Literary Review‘s National Poetry Month Contest as well as the 2021 recipient of the Dick Shea Memorial Prize for Poetry. Her poetry has been funded by Bread Loaf Writers, ArtsWestchester, and Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and she holds an MFA from the University of New Hampshire. She lives in Nyack, New York.