Poetry Month 2023 Post #11: “My Four Sisters”

April is #NationalPoetryMonth and I am posting a Poem-A-Day. Today’s post is a version of a poem I wrote in 2011. I am posting it today because today is the 64th birthday of my oldest sister, Allison Truly Mount, who died when she was 14 months old.

My Four Sisters 

one shimmers as memory
shatters and scatters
what could have been
smiling from a buttery picture
at the top of the stairs
first in a line of all girls
five if you count the
living and the dead

next one with surprising
red curly locks
she unearthed genetics
no one knew
or discussed
quietly soaked
by a world averse
to unfiltered pain

then blond curls
came ready, wanting
missing what was lost
not grieving the same
not seeing the same
laughing and climbing,
dissecting, inspecting
calculating how to survive

I am four, or three
depending on how you count
living, or the living and the dead
now light brown curls
that resembled the first
burst of life, now
lingering from that
gold plated frame at
the top of the stairs

so came five, or four
as the crow flies
five, the final emerging
no curls this time
out of time
desires circle back again,
and again, to a joy
revived and passed

like one and two
three and four
and five or four
depending on whether you count
the living or the living and the dead

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