For Birdie (My Sister)

Almost fifty years gone
And still I think of you
A beautiful flower crushed
Beneath the heel of neglect
And lack of nourishment

I was but a helpless child
Yet I still feel guilt
And, yes, shame, that my small
hands could not save you
That my love could not keep you here

I strain to remember your voice
I cannot hear you
But I see you sitting in the doorway
At Hazzard when you came to visit
Then I see you again on that awful day
Your translucent skin, your rib bones visible
Your eyes wide open, startled

Did you see my tears? my anger?
Did you know I was powerless to help you?
Did I say I love you?

My only solace is the belief
That Mother was there to greet you
And you’ve been together ever since
Father is gone now and I’m sure
you haven’t seen his face
Because surely he is in that other place.

About the author

Pauline Graham Binder