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the sister kramazov
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All things that occur in fours

have a fifth, a conspirator

unbeknownst to the conspiracy,

and ignored by the narrator.

A bastard season of a sister

who borrows the defining features

of her brothers: the cynic,

the sensualist, the wretch

the mystic. Without her,

they cannot become each other.


An onlooker, she remains unintroduced

at a distance—across a potato cart

at market, a few stools down the bar,

pausing by the picture windows

of their quarters, on her knees and forehead

in a mass of peasants at the monastery—

fiercely adoring all four

now that they're all in town, not for long.


She wanders through them as she would a forest

and sees herself, a tree that grows there.


There are nights all five

roam the streets alone,

inquisitors born from a father

who cannot answer for anything.

The brothers turn disparate

corners, unaware, cowards her:

the wheel around spokes,

the deck's forlorn joker,

apocryphal gospel,

quintessential wind.


Any direction steers her closer

to one brother and farther from another,

and farther from one brother and

closer to another.


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