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Little Sister

Mood: Dogged | Drinking: Drinks


My sister’s birthday is this weekend, so I thought it was an excellent time to post a poem I wrote about her.

The poem was featured in a small anthology published last fall called Remembering Faces. The theme of the book is poetry by women about women who have made an impact in their lives.

My woman of choice was my sister…

Little Sister

I broke mom and dad
in with a blazing trail
of beers, boyfriends
and broken curfews
so you didn’t have to wait
’til 18 to get your first kiss.

On your first day of school
you didn’t go as yourself
but as my little sister,
second Witmer.
Teachers thought they knew
what to expect.

In the shadow cast
by my relentless claim
to some sort of significance
you quietly carved out the shape
of your own existence.

All our lives
you’ve come in second
in everything but this:

I push open the door
to the white room
in which you labor,
a stranger to me,
flushed and new.

Your smile speaks a language
I have not yet learned,
heavy with the rhythm
of wet mystery
and expectation.

When they bring him to you
all wailing and warm
you beam like the mother of God,
stretch out your arms
for the first time
and without any effort
surpass me.


— Happy Birthday, Beanhead! —

-Lo, big sister.

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