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Blood Sisters: A Poem in Six Decades
by Linda Simone

August girls prick fleshy tips‐
press forefingers as if squeezing wine from grapes.
Two carmine drops: one, a swirl of Celt and French
the other, Italian, somehow darker.
Slow count to ten, then
the mingling. Giggles explode.

At 18, we are oaks,
roots stretching toward sudden spring thaw.
Yours reach Maryland and the magic
of nursing people to health.
Mine stay put. In New York, I grasp at words
that flit like moths.

In small college chapel, I hear sonnets, marry Joe.
Together we learn the book of our son.
With Patrick you walk Trinity Church aisle,
rock three children to dreams.
Phone, now our backyard hedge.

We both lose and we both win.
Mothers go. With them, their prized gardens:
waves of roses, ivory impatiens,
African violets the color of Lent.
Fathers pass. We get how they toiled
for our side-by-side worlds.
For our children, we wish multiple blessings,
one lifetime friend.
On brides and grooms,
we toss confetti like rainwater
wait for what will seed.

Summers pass. I traverse
your mother's Charleston
imagine her, swathed
in fuschia crepe myrtle,
boa of Spanish Moss,
sauntering cobblestones
drawling at fine wrought iron.
I wonder if today you crave lasagna,
feel Vesuvian scorch,
wander the tangle of Naples’ arterial streets?

Your lifeblood stirs hazy dreams:
sleepover summers, hominy mornings,
noons cooled by pink lemonade,
of two girls
one pact
sealed in blood
on an ordinary day.
Looking back, we find the path forward.

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