Permanent Marker

Sarah Cooper


“This is as old as you’re ever going to get.” – Dorothy Allison 

  1. I refuse to delete your phone number and birthday from my list of contacts.
  2. Every day I look at photos of you (but they don’t smell like you or sound like you or smirk when I say those “big words”).
  3. Your ashes look like beach sand; a bag of the coast resting in an oak box in our family’s home, on a mountain.
  4. Your body in the coroner’s bag haunts me, your azure eyes glazed but pupils clear, head turned to the side like a child waiting to be plucked from bed.
  5. Our parents have become my parents, have become lost swimmers drowning, thrashing and crashing, have become waves, have become the sea.
  6. We carry the dog tags and Afghani coins from your deployment in our pockets.
  7. Your teeth, the ones you lost as a child, are still in the Aleve bottle in Dad’s medicine cabinet.
  8. I stole a bottle of cologne from your room. It sits on my shelf and your name, the one you wrote in permanent marker, is slowly fading from the glass.