After my mother and sister died from a disease the wind blew in from ghost towns, the same white dress they both wore, in different eras, stood in the closet, as if a life of its own. I remember my sister wearing that dress while holding a prayer book, her mouth open, reciting a psalm with the congregation or pretending she was. At night, I imagined the dress freeing itself from hangers, hovering over me. I could feel it breathe. I could hear it whisper. When I worked up the courage to open my eyes and light a candle, I sat next to the old Singer machine and stuck stitching pins into my legs, just to see if I were really awake.

an unclaimed child
walks solemnly into church each Sunday
mouth open to receive The Word


Kyle Hemmings


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