Sisters by John Grey

Ellen’s unlike her sisters.

Hannah and Susan

They are merely appetites

that need to be fed,

that get them into bad situations,

from which they somehow extract themselves

with honesty and tears.


Ellen likes to sit before the mirror,

feeding little scraps of anger to her pouting moth,

inventing excuses,

with a glare, doing her utmost to break the connection

between pride and fall –

I’m beautiful, she tells herself –

why not enjoy it.


Hannah, Susan,

are ultimately forgiving

of the ones who hurt them,

but Ellen forgives no one,

wants them all near but not close,

sweating heat and aching for

what they don’t have.


Ellen’s carved out

a glowering trench in her heart

from where she can look out

upon the battlefield,

content in her superior forces.


Her true feelings arc a secret

even to herself.

So how she acts becomes habit

and ultimately total ignorance –

of course, she mistakes it for bliss.


All three are martyrs

to their own happiness.

But Hannah and Susan

recognize stones when they hit them.

Ellen thinks they’re roses.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.   


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