It was sealed with a handshake
between two brothers.
Father’s eldest would be his next sacrifice.
Lola said it was written in her palm lines
like uncle, and in the end that was all it took.
Soon they were invoking Nightingale,
and whichever relative they could lure.
Already the hard lines
wrought by years of rough-and-tumble
living disappeared from Father’s face.
Over cold glasses of juice and iced tea,
the sound of a mother’s cry strains
against the table’s complicit silence.
It took a brother to note the dark
aspect of her face turning away,
leaving only the echo of her feet
hurrying to outpace the cacophony
of monitor bleeps and suction machines.
And who could forget how her fervid dreams,
the ones nursed since childhood,
fled from her eyes that night?
And in its place, only the tears that wondered
if this was truly the eldest daughter’s lot.