The Maynard
Spring 2016

Mallory Tater

Fan Palms

Home, for the moment, for a month,
is Sedona, where my parents believe
in long hikes and in golf, believe
they’re aging and wouldn’t sun fix this.
I return from a walk with soy-milk
and coffee, tins of Beech Nut
for my father, bone-in pork loin
for supper, turn the television on mute
in the sunroom. Through stain-glass windows
which catch unnecessary light, I see
my youngest sister swim naked. Madeline floats
awhile then she climbs the pool stairs.
Water drips from her hair, her hair,
her hair is crying. Here, Madeline’s
learned to tempt and torture
with words. Here, we share a bed, she drools
in my hair, but I never move her, wake her,
do anything. Here, we try forgetting
that living can be hard. Madeline dries
her tired body with fan palms Mom left
in a pile. Mom will always find small churches
with no confession and free coffee. A man
at the church said not to dispose of the palms
until Pentecost if she’s any good at prayer
so Mom left them on the diving board
when she went to pray among frozen fish
in the kitchen. I think of getting my sister
the towel she needs but there’s something
about her wiping her chest
on a maybe-blessed plant. She may grow
hives on her neck and stomach. Maybe
she’s blessing them back. The sun shines
so prematurely for March that I don’t trust
anything. Madeline leaves the palms
on the deck, sneaks in through
the side door. Our older sister does
a crossword with a pen and in peace.
Madeline grabs a dress from the hamper,
asks if I want some iced tea and when
did I get home. Just now, I say.
And how was her swim.