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Our Bedroom

My sister and I
sleep in the same
queen-sized bed
shoved into
a shoebox room.

Our mother says
it’s time for bed,
but we stay up
and make shadow
puppets with the
missing flashlight
on the wall.

We sit in
the closet,
sharing secrets,
allowing them to
dangle in the air,
clothes on a hanger:
“Listen, I saw
her kiss a boy.”

And then we
are sleeping,
feet entangled,
as if the space
we shared somehow
made us one.

When our mother
says it’s time for
my own bed,
I tell her
I am excited,
and I am.

Choosing my own
makes my heart
beat so fast
that I think
my little body
will explode.

My sister and I
still share a room.
Except now,
we sleep
on opposite sides.

at night
I look to
her side of
the room
and the space
between us.

VIVIANA MENDOZA is a contributor to Sagebrush XVII.

Cover Art: Two Sisters, Felice Beato, circa 1866-1867, Hand-colored albumen silver print (via the Getty’s Open Image Project).