A Persistence of Sisters

— a proffered collective noun


Birthed singly or in pairs and, rarely, sets

sometimes with a brother, rarely, two

alone or in a bevy

sisters are linked

to one another and to all of life


in ties of blood

that reach beyond the grave

in spite of hate

that stains our holy souls

in cries of pain

that rise to sighs of song

in eyes of strength

that see beyond the day


through all the searing firestorms time

the resistance of our sisters has persisted


through anonymous

days    nights    years    lifetimes

of suppression

through the isolation

of their blood

through the darkness

of their pain

through the deaths

of sisters brothers mothers

through the murder

of their children

through rape

of bodies minds souls

through the selling

of their strength

through abuses of the wars

of ever-angry men

through all their pride

of place replaced

through all the years of loss

of death that drips

through their veins like chemo

of strength renewed

through heart

the pain endured


they nonetheless persisted,

revenant trees

renewed beyond

the fire and the axe

to rise above

their ravaged bodies, born

to heights unreachable

by merely males


yet dreamt of

in the red tents of the mothers

dreamt of

in the blood-sweat of their labor

dreamt of

in the dust of chattel-fields

dreamt of

in angry suburban kitchens

dreamt of

in the books that were not written

dreamt of

in the forgotten ones that were

dreamt of

in their silent pride in weaving

plowing rooting hauling feeding caring


and loving

even in the face of pain

and loving

even as the village burned

and loving

even as the children died

and loving

even as they gave their lives

for people who still haven’t learned to love,


as from the crimson sea within

she rose again

to make the family strong the children laugh

to set the world aright and make it one

she rose again

to feel the living skin beneath her touch

and sing her pleasured song for all to hear

she rose again

to touch her sister’s mind her brother’s tears

and sleep unknown to fear though knowing death

she rose again

to see the future solid as the truth

and find the source of love within us all

she rose again

to shine and be a light for all to see

and give, forgive, and heal the wounded world

again she rose

to know   to weep   to reach   to gain   to shine

to sweat   to bear   to grow   to judge   to learn

again she rose

to sow   to reap   to sing   to reign   to find

to laugh   to come   to run   to fly   to burn

with life unto herself withal in full

to be again

the living earth we dream of in our hearts.