Dear Sister, Part IV

Dear Sister,

She teaches me the meaning of poise
the open face and silent eyes
the smile, the purse, the reticent lips

She invites the silence in for tea
encourages me to fill the space between.

We leave out unnecessary ums and uhs
in favor of softer thoughts. She pulls them
like thread through a loom, and weaves her response

into the fabric of the moment.

I find myself blessing her delicate hand
in lieu of cursing this clumsy klutz
the goodness tangible in my patchwork prose

as it drapes around my shoulders.

Dear Sister, Part III

Dear Sister,

She doesn’t know

the strength with which she reads aloud
the focus she pulls when she sings
the invitation to join her when she starts to dance.

She doesn’t know

the poetry in the way she curls her hair
the way she pulls on her thoughts like gloves
and grasps my frozen fingers.

She doesn’t know

the answers to all my questions
the x I offer to all her equations
the tomorrow she hopes today will bring.

She doesn’t know

the way to be anyone else

She doesn’t know

how else to be.

Dear Sister, Part 1

Dear Sister,

She reaches into a bag
each day
a bag ornate with the swirling blooms of love
and the patches of cashmere entwined
with silver spools.

She reaches into a bag
each day
a bag that holds the scaly remnants of snakes
and the grounds of bitter coffee
with dirty band-aids.

She reaches into a bag
each day
a bag that smells like gardenia and peach
and the scent of sated
with earthy life undertones.

She reaches into a bag
each day
and smiles.

The Ballad of a Ballsy Broad

– for Rita

She loomed upon the darkened corner of dank
the office I inhabited was flooded
with lilac perfume and waves of spray
for the coif perched high on her head.

This menacing woman glided into my office
her eyes were bright and hard
her mouth was stretched into a smile
but my heart was immediately charred

Her voice was deceptively sweet,
though it betrayed her snobbiness soon
She looked down her nose at me
And yet my respect for her grew.

As the weeks passed, I found out her bluntness
didn’t mask any hatred for me
I found out her unabashed bluntness
Was actually honoring me.

She plucked out my strengths from my weakness
and held them before me on a platter
The platter she created from wisdom
And she thrust it at people who matter.

This hard-ass lady from my hometown
Somehow though I’ve moved across country
Still coiffed and cultivated as ever
Is the source of my greatest story.