The other sister


I wanted to tell her something important

About the way people feel at times like these,

When poems fail provide only cold comfort

Where even a squeeze of shoulder cannot

Reach deep enough inside her to shake loose

The fragments of pain and self torture.


She was the sister of a famous woman

Never quite able to dust herself free

Of her sisterís reputation,

ďYouíre `whatís her faceís sister,Ē or

ďyouíre sisterís so wonderful, sort of, you know.Ē


Even her lovers came expecting her sisterís sort,

As if that kind of fame ran in the family

Transfused in the womb from mother to daughterís

Like a package of specifically designed genes


But this sister was a dark and moody soul,

Her eyes brown, not her sisterís blue

With a scar down one cheek

From a fall as a child,

A scar to which her fingers rose

With each blush

Knowing that it showed that much

More clearly when embarrassed,

Knowing that it made her look

Even less like her sister,


I wanted to tell her

I never mistook the two of them

That I knew which sister was which

And who was home,

That I didnít need her scar

To alert me to the difference


But I was wrong,

I couldnít tell the difference,

And that deep down in me

I wanted her sister, too,

What a fool I was.


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