When my sister tells me she doesn't believe in god anymore

we are staring at the ceiling of my rented living room
in the yellow-dark night time of a suburban city sleeping,
a box fan singing, broken-spoked and drowsy, and the water
heater filling like footsteps up the stairs.

The ceiling here, which is the second story's floor,
looks like the view from the passenger seat of your own car
and I think, the seatbelt's choking me, and shift
in the sleeping bag and feign sleep.

Only, I am reminded of the way the bathrooms in our
childhood home were stacked on one another and how
the top leaked into the bottom, painting a dragon in
water on the paper ceiling, just above the bathtub.

It was darker there at night and once, while I slept,
my tall sister pressed glow-in-the dark stars
into my bedroom ceiling. Sleep-bleared, I nearly caught her,
the length of her out stretched, her right hand dissolving in the sky.

Anna Finn is a PhD candidate in English at the University of California Irvine. Her work explores experimental prosody in Victorian and modernist poetry. (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761