Two Sisters



The sisters appear
in a photo
from the year
a black and white portrait
of a Sunday morning, late, after service.
One sister reads,
the other one stares
towards the lens that snares
an image that reappears
with each new set of eyes.


The Great Depression
lay like lava
still below ground,
an economic volcano
that would roll over the land like smoke,
an ashen cloud that would cloak the world….
The adults whispered and the whispering
rooted in the sisters’ minds
inspiring a thriftiness
that future generations would come to either inherit or mock
as temperament and fortune dictated….
Plentitude flows like the tide…….
In some places there is always water
in others almost never…..


The war to end all wars was recent history.
Yet, sadly, it wasn’t.


One sister reads a volume of instruction
in the art of womanhood.
Fixed rules for a fluid world.
Some decades later most of the advice is washed away.
One sister stares as though peering into the future,
dreaming that a day may come
when a woman will be Prime Minister…..
That there will be women doctors, and lawyers and police…..
She could never have dreamed of space travel, wireless communication,
the Hubble telescope, three dimensional printers…..

In their later years
after a Second World War, color television and
men landing on the moon,
they would seek comfort in elegantly upholstered living room furniture
and fastidiously manicured gardens.