What’s Mine Is Yours
Inseparable from fifth grade, Yan and I traded paper dolls,
secrets, and fantasies. At eleven we fell in love with Michael,
our buddy from church, and planned a wedding for the three of
us. In college we traded food and cigarettes: loan me 35 cents
for cigarettes, she’d say. OK, but you already owe me 50 cents, I
replied. Now you owe me 85 cents. Well, she’d tell me, you owe
me a dollar, so I just owe you 15 cents. She saved money, packed
some food, and on a chilly January afternoon, I put her on the
train in Tuscaloosa to see her Lebanese boyfriend at UCLA. It
would take days to get there. Her hair rose in a monumental
beehive, the way she’d teased it all semester. Long sleeves
covered the slices she had cut in her olive skin. Mascara
smudged, she smiled through tears. Her arm lifted as she
waved goodbye; her coat sleeve dropped revealing scars.
Years later, smoke ate her body, collapsed her lungs, and I
screamed: you owe me nothing. What’s mine is yours.
Cecele Allen Kraus has had two poetry chapbooks published: Tuscaloosa Bypass (Finishing Line Press 2012) and Harmonica (Liquid Light Press 2014). Poems have appeared in journals such as Naugatuck River Review, Windfall, Chronogram, and Avocet. She has worked as a psychotherapist for thirty years and lives in Copake, New York.