November 24 – Barbara Jeanne

by Nancilynn Saylor

I am the second child,
the second daughter
my older sister who longed
for me announced
to our mother
after only two weeks
You can take her back now!

My older sister told me
I was adopted, “Look around!
No one looks like you.”
I was sure I’d come from
another planet, dropped into
their Catholic midst by Aliens
(who surely would return for me some day!)

My older sister was my first
friend, sometimes we
tormented as only sisters do.
I remember snuggling under the covers
on cold Alaskan nights watching
the lavender and blue-green
Borealis race across the midnight skies.
I remember her strong arms snatching me
by my flannel shirt
from the icy Russian River
where I’d toppled-likely looking
for the glint of gold in the smooth rocks
of the swift moving shallows.

My older sister taught me
to sing harmony-endless summer
days rewinding the Everly Brothers
until our voices sounded perfect.
My older sister taught me
how to do the splits
when my short legs refused
to open. She stood behind me
pushing on my shoulders
forcing me to the ground, then
laughing when I could not get up.

My older sister explained sex,
filling in the parts the nuns left out
adding more than I needed to know.
She found boyfriends for me:
“she has a great sense of humor.”
She was beautiful, I was funny-
I came from aliens after all

Nancilynn 2014

Nancilynn lives and works and writes from Austin, Texas, where she gardens, spends time with Romeo, her son, 7 grandchildren and her 9 great grands. She works as a full time Patient Advocate at a Level 1 Trauma Center.

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2 responses to “November 24 – Barbara Jeanne

  1. I have an older sister and could overlay my own memories about that relationship on to yours.

  2. Hi,
    This poem really hit home as my sister and I were best friends through childhood. She saved me many times! I love these lines especially:
    “My sister taught me/ to sing harmony-endless summer/…” and “I remember her strong arms snatching me/ by my flannel shirt/…” and the whole last stanza. Thank you for sharing this!

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