Mary Ellen Shaughan

My Sister

Nearly 90 now, she writes to me
each week in her distinct scrawl,
the characters looking more and more
like chickadee tracks,
the pen unwilling to comply
with her mind, skipping over
words or omitting the
transition from one story
to the next, and I am left
wondering if words have
run off the page or are still
lying on a table nearly
two thousand miles away,
leaking from the pen onto
a tablecloth strewn
with breakfast crumbs,
odd vowels and consonants,
all of which my sister has
likely brushed into the
palm of her hand and
thrown into the trash.

Mary Ellen Shaughan is a native Iowan who now lives in a hotbed of poetry in Western Massachusetts.