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Three Sister Poems by Norbert Krapf

Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day 2018
by Norbert Krapf

Not long after we received ashes
on our foreheads, I learned from
my brother that our sister Mary

passed into spirit in her sleep last night.
No more sister suffering, no more
blood sister left in this world of flesh,

but a beautiful spirit remains always
a spirit beautiful in any and every world.
I was to see you in less than a week,

but now Mary I will see you always
alive, giving others hope and courage,
wanting always to lift them toward

the best they can become, believing
in what they would give to us. You gave
us eyes to see gifts hiding in ourselves.

To Come Knockin’ at Your Door?
by Norbert Krapf

Sister, every year you wrote to your
brother who cut off from all of us
and our children thirteen years ago

without telling us where he went
or why. You wanted to stay in touch.
Your husband dug up his address.

Sister, somebody hurt brother bad.
I know it was a priest about whom
a cousin sent me word that late in his

life he insisted he wasn’t likely to go
to heaven because he had done “terrible
things.” I know well what they were.

He did them to brother and he did them
to me. It’s nothing you ever did to your
brother that kept him away so silent.

He never answered your letters or mine.
You told me late in your too short life
that you kept hoping he would one day

come knock on your door. I almost begged
him to knock knock on your door. As far as
I know, he did not, even though he was

fond of you. Sister, any brother who
cannot come knocking on your door
is hurt worse than we can ever know.

Some doors remain always open.
Like yours. He didn’t even have to
knock. Your heart was always open.

Big Soul Sister
by Norbert Krapf

When I told a woman writer friend
about your rheumatoid arthritis
leading to a related type of leukemia,

Mary, but pointed out that your spirit
remained positive and you retained
an eye for the good in others,

she replied: “Sounds like your sister
had a body difficult to live in
but a big soul full of light.”

Former Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf is the author of eleven poetry collections and the forthcoming Cheerios in Tuscany: Poems by and for a First-Time Grandpa. He is the winner of a Glick Indiana Author Award, a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and he collaborates with bluesman Gordon Bonham. He has a poem in stained glass at the Indianapolis International Airport and his poems have been read on The Writer's Almanac. More: