for my sister


The things we saved we won’t

throw away now—old toys,

postcards and trinkets.  Everything

that really happened—one summer


or the next—we’ve both revised

into the stories we believe

we didn’t invent.  How much

have we deceived ourselves?


We’ll never find out.  Look

at what we kept—the sand dollar

and its broken stars, the paperweight

with its tiny sea horse still


afloat inside.  What did we want

when we bought them?

Standing at the counter,

waiting for our parents to pay,


we must have been impatient

for our actual lives to begin.

As if they hadn’t,

as if we’d know when they did.

About Lawrence Raab:
Lawrence Raab is the author of seven poetry collections, including What We Don’t Know About Each Other, winner of the National Poetry Series, and a finalist for the National Book Award, The Probable World, Visible Signs: New and Selected Poems, and his latest collection, The History of Forgetting, all published by Penguin. He teaches literature and writing at Williams College.