by Kathryn Kulpa
SISTER SISTER ALWAYS takes the front and makes me ride in the back. Sister with her doll that’s a ghost of her, ghost of me, held tight in her hand like she’s never going to let us go, my gaze fixed eternally on the back of her head, O Sister Sister her bunny rabbit ears her bunny rabbit nose. Why is she me if I am not her? She says:
You can’t ride in my little red wagon
Front wheel’s broken and the axle’s saggin’
But there she is in that wagon. Red overalls. Red Tootsie Pop. Red mouth grinning. I’m taking the lead, she says, I’m breaking the trail, I’m the you that was you before you were, I’m the salt to your pepper, I will always be the Hostess cupcake at your tea party and you will be the sad afterthought of a stale vanilla wafer, and how can I answer? Even her shadow is darker than mine. I run to the mirror because it’s the only place she never is and I touch my face and it’s my face, mine, and Sister says, I suppose you think that makes you real.
Kathryn Kulpa is a New England-based writer and editor with words in Flash Frog, New World Writing, No Contact, and Wigleaf. Her flash chapbook Girls on Film was a winner of the Vella Chapbook Contest, and her stories were chosen for Best Microfiction 2020 and 2021.