by Catherine Simpson

My sister Brett has eyes like dinner-plates: blue eyes—blue plate special eyes—twin willow
patterns hung above a mantelpiece. They widened at stories when she was a toddler and sat in
my lap, along with that smudge of her baby-red mouth. She’d listen to stories of fairies living
under the deck, of angels nesting in the walnut tree, of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the
rest of children’s theology. She believed solemnly, her lower lip set in acceptance, dribbled with

Now she is taller than me and stronger than me and got into a better college and she never
believes anything without getting the facts first—statistics, source of the statistics, their source
of the statistics—the same smudge-red mouth crooked up in disbelief, her great blue eyes rolling
at the slightest hyperbole. It cuts something cherubic in her expression like lemon squeezed over
cream. She has moved from gullibility to skepticism with the zealotry of a convert, and there is
no room for her former habits.


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