small textlarge text

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Lisa's Ghost Twin Sister at the Grocery Store

Download MP3

Lisa's ghost twin sister still shows up to work every day at the grocery store in her service uniform. She forgot the onsite accident. She wears sensible shoes, black polyester pants, and a blue silk blouse in the height of summer. Her transparency sardine colored. Tidy pin curls on one side of her head, the other side haggard darkness. Her face is made up pretty like a porcelain doll from 1910. But something is off, Lisa's ghost twin sister, a cracked egg, gesticulates in Dry Goods, her arm reaching for baked beans.

Does she know she is walking undead down the Dairy aisle? Her journey to rebuild herself, horrific. Visiting maggots like buds of garlic follow her, trying to clean slime from the aisles. Eyes, like clumps of chives, survey the scene. Tomatoes are hearts. Spaghetti, dried tendons. Mesquite pork tenderloin- the muscles. Fish for feet. It will go in to come back out. It comes out to go back in. She cannot help it, Lisa's ghost twin sister at the grocery store. Ingredients she cannot decipher, staring at items like she left the stove on. Distal phalanx bones pass through cookie samples.

Lisa's ghost twin sister's gait disturbs the cereal boxes. Raspy breaths rattle the soup cans. She reaches for odd items: taffy, purple kohlrabi, mouth wash. If I were a ghost in the grocery store I'd try to pick up an apple. People walk through her all the time. They look like they ate something bad for a second. I go every Sunday. I try to tell Lisa's ghost twin sister that she's checked out already. My breath wasted, unfelt in her non-ear.


Download MP3

I see her stumbling down the hallway sometimes. You would think she floats, but her step is heavy. Her thought reflected in the step. She hides in bathrooms. I know she is me- maybe from another slashed time- one of us is in the wrong place. I cannot count the times, the meetings, cannot measure the spaces, the feelings, the day to day. When I see her, I lose time. It will be lunchtime. I see her. Her hair face. Then it is three o'clock. Then it is then. Then brain shadows. I am alone. I feel full of her. I try to tell her to step stop back but she smothers me her darkness her dread her dreary hair in my mouth cannot free myself but the real heaviness on my chest lungs separate into four lungs cannot breathe slow gasping slow motion movie reel of drowning. One tiny logical party one tiny logical part of my of my brain says but if we both drown but if we both drown but if we both who saves us who will be left to who stops.

➥ Bio