Sister Bright





Look across the night and hear me.

In death, there is no silence.

There is the weeping, wailing, mourning

Of those you leave behind.

Your silence is my darkness.

Come back sister bright.


I’m not much of a poet. I have a healthy respect for poets’ fluidity with metaphor, and I incorporate elements of poetry in my prose. But I am primarily a prose writer. Most of my poetry is deliberately exaggerated, bad on purpose to be silly.  I rarely, rarely, rarely write the serious stuff. And when I do, it sticks with me.  I wrote this when I was seventeen, the first time my sister tried to kill herself. I hesitate to include it here, because its story is no longer true. And I’m not sure how true it ever was. My sister was never anybody’s joyful beacon. Still, when she was twelve, I would have missed her. Her death would have been a weight, and not a lightening. And it is, by coincidence, 33 words long. Which makes it perfect for this weekend’s Trifextra.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Sister Bright — 30 Comments

    • I think the reason I’m more prosey than poesy is that my truths take more words. Poems are most beautiful to me when spare, and I have never been able to capture a thing well without lots of extra verbs and nouns!

  1. That's tough but yet there is so much beauty in your words, I think it's a lovely piece despite the subject and the emotions described within. Your family must have gone through so much for so long so it's no surprise that the feelings changed. Stay strong yourself, thinking of you and all your family. Hope Sam's meds have kicked in too. :)
    My recent post Overrun

    • I am sorry to say that the answer is 'sorta'. He's a holy terror all morning, then he gets about a good half hour, and then conks out. The cold is getting worse, has settled into his chest, so that I think we'll be spending Monday at the doctor's office. We would be doing it today, but the ER kindly confirmed that there's no pneumonia just yet on Thursday and agreed that we needed to finish his current course of antibiotics before we went back for still more. I think the beacon here is that Scott and I are together on this. He's going to have a hard time driving in a wedge to play ends against the middle, and hopefully, we can get him to a point that the desire to be happy overwhelms that desire to control.

    • My parents are the ones who really went through hell. I'm lucky to at least have a clue about what I'm dealing with and a social services and medical system that's 30 years more advanced than when evil sib was starting to show symptoms.

  2. Jessie, this is like a smack in the gut it's so poignant, especially given what else you've shared about your relationship with your sister. Poetry is so brave.
    My recent post The Music of the Night

    • Thanks – I remember that first time. It wasn’t really a shock. It was more a feeling of sinking certainty and loss. I was old enough that I never had to spend time sitting around the hospital waiting for her, but somehow waiting at home taking care of the animals wasn’t much better.

    • Suicide is such a strange monster. Even now that she has done it, and it's over, all I can feel is relief. My niece is safe. If she had been successful that first time, I think I would have mourned her more.

    • I took a correspondence course in 9th grade with …. I've forgotten his name, but he was a well known writer, and the course was through Northwestern University somewhere in Chicago. Anyway, he used to send back my prose with great tips and feedback and my poetry with "Do you read this stuff?" written in several places. And the answer, of course, was that I did NOT read it, did not understand poetry, and do not particularly understand it, though I've grown to love it. But I did have the decency to be embarrassed by the question and try to develop some poetic sensibility.

    • I don't talk much about evil sib here. I'm starting to open up, but I worry about what my niece will find. I want to talk to her in person before she has to deal with the certainty that her mother's and my history was just awful.

    • Thanks Mel. The loss would have been greater if she had succeeded at the time of the poem. By the time she did die she had so effectively alienated people that there were a very few tearful eyes at the funeral. Most people were sad and resigned. Some of us were just relieved.

    • Thanks – I think that's the line that has stayed with me the most. I know the rest of the poem flows from it.

  3. Thank you so much for linking up to Trifextra this weekend. The challenge this weekend will be judged by the community. So please come back to the Trifecta home page and click the stars next to the three posts you most enjoyed. You only have until Monday at 8 am EST, so hurry!

    xx Thanks for sharing, Jessie.

  4. So poignant. Very well done.
    I am sort of the corollary of you — typically more poem-y than prosey.
    It's so neat that this past poem of your had exactly the 33 words. I looked through my own stash and could not find any with exactly that wordcount, though several were darn close! So I went for the three stanzas…

    • I love the way Trifecta forces me to the edge of my comfort zone and then boots me out of it, but leaves me loving it nonetheless.

  5. I coulldn't comment on this when I first saw it because it broke my heart. I still don't know what to say, except that it's beautiful, and I understand the difficult, changing emotions you mentioned after the poem. My own life has been full of them.

    • Looking at her life in retrospect, the best thing I can say is that I'm so grateful for my niece. Mom adopted her in 2009, so now my niece, only five months older than Caroline, is also my sister, and I couldn't ask for a cooler little sister than Kay.

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