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The Arch Nemesis in Three Parts

Part one: 11 years old

There is a girl.
She is not real.
She does not grow.
She is always mourning her mother
face down, sobbing into her bedspread
while I sit on the edge of the bed
and watch her black curls tremble,
a useless friend.

Part two: 24 years old

She is another girl,
still not real.
She never knew about me and
I’ve never met her
except through reading a journal,
and she is elusive.
She is bright and lovely.
She buys things and
gets her college degree in art.
She grows into a myth.
I hear she named a baby (her third) my favorite name.

Part three: Present

She materializes in the form of my downstairs neighbor.
The myths fade to paleness.
I discover we are so much alike that it’s creepy.
But I hear her yell at her kids through the floor.
Really, I don’t want to be like her.
I hang on to our differences that grow too close.
She moves away. My babies grow.
I yell at them.
I become grown.
I become the girl
and she must take another form.
She must always be bigger and calm and more bright
and unfurled and singing.


I am a children's librarian. I have 2 kids. I have a professor for a husband. I obsess about writing and about making things.

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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    i love that.

  2. Caroline says:

    Brooke, I’ve never seen this one. Awesome! I’ve read it a few times now and want to read it again. I love that last line. That really pulls it all together for me.

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