We could never be sisters, I tell you.

You have been my friend for nearly a decade. Before and after this conversation, every memory I have will be imbued with you, a reminder that we love each other too much and not in ways that we understand yet. We are talking over the phone and I have held this thought for weeks now, not sure how to word it and not sure how to explain myself.

I fear that you will think that I don’t adore you, or that you will dismiss me, or worse still, that you will agree with me.

You agree with me.


We are not sisters, and your life has just begun.

I speak to you for the first time in a language that belongs to neither of our mothers.

I want you to be smart, cared for, respected, loved. I open my hands and you laugh and I am reminded that this newborn joy is fleeting. 

Don’t squander it, I beg. 

You don’t know what that word means. You only know how to say banana, but you don’t know how to stop, all meandering syllables and wide-open smiles.

How could I be so silly? I coo, lifting you up. You are so small! How do you do it?

It will be an honor to watch you grow.


We are not sisters, and we aren’t sure we can be.

I meet you for the first time in a crowded room where, somehow, you know me at first sight. I confess to you that I don’t know how to be a girl anymore, much less a sister, and you whisper that you don’t think I need to be. Your arm against my back is the only thing guarding me against total collapse, your hand on my cheek steadying my rapid breaths.

We will never see each other again, nor will we ever need to.


We have been sisters, bloody and permanent, for all of your life.

We refract each other endlessly. You are the most difficult to write, a knifepath, sharp and thin and unrelenting. We walk together, shoulder to shoulder on a dirt road we force to fit both of us. 

I love you more than anything:

Before I know you, after I leave you behind, in all the spaces in between. 

There is not a part of my heart that does not know what it means to love you. 

Will we always be out of time?