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.
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.
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.
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.