First Meeting, a poem by Karen Benke

by | Nov 22, 2019 | Poetry, Sisters Born Sisters Found | 0 comments

With Thanksgiving fast approaching in the United States, I am full of gratitude for so many things. This post’s excerpt from Sisters Born, Sisters Found, an anthology I edited and published, features a poem by Karen Benke, one of 76 memoirists, essayists, fiction writers and poets who contributed to the book.

Sisters Born, Sisters Found: A Diversity of Voices on Sisterhood

Writers from every continent except Antarctica contributed stories and reflections on both blood sisters and friends so close they feel like sisters. Authors included are primarily women, but several men also contributed. I’m so grateful to all of them. The following poem, “First Meeting,” is especially meaningful to me now, because my second granddaughter was born in August, and her big sister couldn’t wait to hold her, hug her, kiss her. Karen Benke’s poem exquisitely captures such a moment.

First Meeting
by Karen Benke

The night she came home from the hospital

I taped four pieces of construction paper

side by side, spelled welcome in black crayon

then hung the banner high 

against the stars of the front window. 

On Dad’s chair, I sat waiting

—all the way back on worn leather, 

my legs resting over the edge, 

my hands in my lap folded neatly.  

Here, Mom cradled her down to me, and carefully 

I moved the warm blanket back, memorizing 

the shape of her head, studying the tiny lines 

of her new pink skin.  I wanted her 

to know me, hear her voice sing my name. 

This weight I held was our beginning.  

I was told I must always share—my heart

breaking as she gazed back at me.

My adorable granddaughters.

The book captures moments that cross an emotional spectrum. When I sell books at holiday fairs, discerning shoppers purchase this anthology to give to their own sisters born and found, and I feel like each writer is giving them a piece of their heart.

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