my first grade teacher tells me blood begins blue
before it is touched by air.
my sister's first boyfriend / his name is eric / he wears big shirts and pockmarked skin / smokes cigarettes even after mom tells him not to / and we cough so much i forget that smoke is not the way air is supposed to be / i like how he says things / and when he looks at me i think i might be a bug / after my sister cuts her hair / he says he likes it better long
i have dreams where i am at confession. we are not catholic but the father faces me through the screen. his eyes are so blue and my heart is so tired. i stuff strands of hair between my teeth to keep from screaming.
when she turns sixteen: she dyes her hair and cuts it all off. she comes home with blue staining her fingernails. mom screams. i start to cry. i run my hands over her shoulders where hair used to be. she holds my face in her hands. it's still me, she says, laughing. look, look. it's still me.
i tell this to my sister.
blood is blue i say
blood is blue is blue is blue
she pulls my hair
and tells me not to be stupid.
three years later / my sister tells me what he did to her / when i was sleeping / in the same room.