Chalkboard
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Chalkboard

Sister Survivors

A seed poem for Chalkboard’s Time to Rhyme project

Three girls walking away from the camera and into Lake Michigan (Black and white image from 1970's)
The three sisters at Lake Michigan in the early 70’s — Photo from the Jacobs family archives

Just because I am the middle child
Doesn’t mean I am inferior
Not the youngest, the child wild
Not the oldest, the one in charge

You, my older sister bore the early brunt
Knew just when things started to go wrong
Tried to shelter us from the battlefront
Even when you knew you couldn’t

Our younger sister went the other way
She thought she was the only one
To bear “the worst’ alone each day
Never realizing how we protected her

Me in the middle, that was my place
Trying to make the world better for all
Trying to stop the arguments, make peace
Never thinking I was good enough

We three grew to be the result
Of what happened before before us
Of two who just played at adult
Never overcoming who they were

Last born always felt left behind
We two went into our lives before her
Last in life, first in death* enshrined
Leaving the trio incomplete forever

We two remaining learned
Our lessons too well, too early
Our roles into our souls burned
But overcome with work, love

Now we know the truth of things
Now we can be honest together
Two men’s love gave us wings
Freeing us to become who we are

*More on the feelings on my younger sister’s untimely death is spread throughout my poetry. See Three now two for a bit more on surviving her.

This is a seed poem for the Time to Rhyme collaboration on Chalkboard. To continue the rhyme chain, choose rhyming words from this piece as a base for your poem. Learn more

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Kathy Jacobs

Kathy Jacobs

💚POMpoet💚 Former software tester, still breaking things. Social Media geek. Former OneNote MVP. Phoenix Mercury fan. Green Bay Packer fan.