STAR WARS

We used to play on the sidewalk,

brandishing long sticks as lightsabers,

caning one another and

really feeling the force of it.

 

Then Ed got a real lightsabre,

gave it to me grinning,

Join me,’ he said,

Darth Vader croaky.

But the dark side

never really appealed to me,

so I lit up my green sword

and I used it to

               slice him

               to pieces.

He groaned, rolled on the ground,

while the kids in the neighbourhood watched,

jealous for a brother like mine.

 

We watched Star Wars obsessively,

and during a bad storm,

when school closed,

saw every movie back to back,

only stopping

to grab bags of chips for nourishment.

 

‘Can’t we watch anything else?’ Angela groaned.

 

Ed turned to her, horrified.

‘I feel like we shouldn’t be family any more.’

He threw a pillow at her

and she laughed,

slumped on the couch next to us.

‘Seriously, Ange, you’re missing out.’

 

‘Angela doesn’t like fighting, I said

to defend my sister,

and Ed nodded sympathetically,

then sucked on the back of his hand.

‘Yeah. She prefers kissing.’

 

Angela covered her eyes with her forearm.

‘You’re grossing me out.

That must be how you kiss your girlfriends.’

 

We were creased up but hushed as

Mom slithered into the sitting room.

 

‘I’m ordering takeout,’ she said,

Her eyes were black-rimmed,

sweatpants and hoodie creased.

She coughed and coughed

until she had to leave the room,

then called in from the kitchen.

‘Angela, can you phone for pizza?

My voice is cut to crap.’

 

‘Sure, Mom!’ Angela said,

her tone like sunshine,

as though Mom wasn’t a complete screw-up.

 

‘Can we get plain cheese?’ I asked.

 

‘Course we can, little man,’ Ed said, pulling me close,

turning up the TV.

R2-D2 slid across a spaceship.

 

Angela dialled for dinner

and we watched Star Wars

into the night

while Mom threw up in the bathroom.

 

She said she had a bug,

told us not to come close

in case we caught what she had.

 

And even though none of us bought the bug story,

we all kept out of Mon’s way.

 

 

© Sarah Crossan from Moonrise, Bloomsbury