Big Cousin

She prays like a girl scout
lost in the woods, at moments turning to her husband with uncertainty
nodding her head and casting a shadow
over the Christmas table.
Her tan, thin legs cross
the way they used to, propping me up,
when we were young and pale
and sat tanning behind the ocean.

Now, when I bleach my dirty blonde roots
on a college dormatory evening,
it stings my eyes remembering
the wave of soft, silk pleats,
a pair of sandled feet,
LA Woman turned model
who turns to God.

She has crawled out of me -
a spitting image of her past.
Big cousin, you, who in the days of
bocce, beaches and boyfriends
adorned me like a punk rock skipper doll,
still dance like an angel
in the ballroom of my childhood.