Precious Little Sister
Born days before I turned eight
she arrived September 8th—
my birthday September 11th—
I’ve no memory of a party,
of her entry, but pictures—
she’s in a stroller on trips with Mom
and Dad. Soon father started
getting sick, disappearing for weeks
under observation, mother moves us
to the city—our Grandmother
in a hospital with cancer. Life
distorted with change, I walked
alone to school feeling lost
on the streets in Queens.
Now her diagnosis, multiple myeloma,
wheelchair bound at retirement—
chemo, radiation for a blood cancer
like our father’s—facing a stem cell transplant,
the next and only option to extend her life.
Six rounds and there is no remission.
She has her partner, a wife, their son—
in college—a few friends with busy lives,
and me, three thousand miles away,
she’s not asked for my presence.
After Uncle died—she did it all—
a lawyer, she sold three houses,
buried him, later buried Mom,
no more family to die but us.
If the doctors are right she may
stick around with that wheelchair.
My baby sister walked with me
in Paris, New York, Bermuda,
Mexico, Seattle, Portland, and her
home, Philly. She wants to live,
says it’s okay if she can’t walk.
I dread seeing her enfeebled
like our mother after her stroke.
Injustice to retire into this disabled
door—to wheel up the ramp made
for mom. My precious baby sister
so agile raising her son, her final
goal, to see him graduate.
About the Author: Julene Tripp Weaver is a psychotherapist and writer in Seattle, WA. Her third collection, truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards and won the Bisexual Book Award. Her book, No Father Can Save Her, is now available as an Ebook.