The 2River View 20.1 (Fall 2015)

Erin Pringle-Toungate

The Joke

My father took my sister’s braid in hand. And raised it. Until her feet lifted off the ground.

That Was Your Sister’s Dress

Before I was born, my parents took my sister on a cruise. Years later, I play dress-up in the dress she wore, pretending to be her. When more years pass, she tells me she was 12, the deck was dark, I was alone, and a man . . .

Long Before My Sister Decides to Die

She lives in a pink trailer with a carport and a bicycle, and makes her boyfriend a birthday cake. It’s called dirt cake, she says, bending to show me, smiling. It’s in a terra cotta planter threaded with oreos and gummy worms, not like a grave at all.

The Way to My Sister’s House

Her second trailer is a right turn at the end of a long empty road, surrounded by cornfields. As she drives, the hoop of keys swings above her bare knee as she sings with the radio. She knows all the words, and there’s a whistle on her keys.

Friday Nights

When I sleep over, my sister covers the green shag carpet with blankets and fresh sheets. We play Clue and she teaches me how to guess the murderer, the weapon, the room. Then she goes to bed at the back of the trailer, and I lay watching the dark.

Erin Pringle-Toungate, originally from Illinois, now lives in the Northwest. Her first book of stories is The Floating Order (Two Ravens Press 2009). websitecontact

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