How Sisters Speak in January – a poem by Sarah Mackey Kirby

How Sisters Speak in January
On nights so thick with winter
the deer tracks fade in seconds
and truck tires settle, trapped,
nestled deep in snow,
I hear you move through trees.
Your laugh reviving happiness
in forest yellow pine. Your sadness,
bare-branch dogwood, spring-pink
blossoms you forgot would come.
Oh, if only you’d have waited…
You sing sugar maple songs to me
and beat the oaks, drumming
falling twigs to ice. And dance 
with finger-snap-sound umph
to blue spruce needle turns.
That lovely musicality. You call me on those
cold-air nights between weeping willow
spaces. Sweet compassion perfect pitch.
Your timbre, leafy smooth magnolia,
as our harmony becomes the wind.
You left me here without a word, but I’m
still here to listen. To gather up your stories
and seek forgiveness for us both. With tulip
poplar sways in January chill’s expanse, while
sun pushes through Kentucky’s lonesome ache.

Sarah Mackey Kirby grew up in Louisville Kentucky. She is the author of the poetry collection, The Taste of Your Music (Impspired, 2021) Her work has been published in Impspired Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, Ploughshares,  Third Wednesday Magazine, and elsewhere. Sarah loves to cook and feel summer dirt on her hands. She and her husband split their time between Kentucky and Ohio. 

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