A Poem About Sister Love by Marcia Mount Shoop

A Poem:  Sister Love

This post will
never be complete
it can only house the fragments,
the remains
of days at my sister’s hospital bed

the vortex of medical labels
“critically ill”
“brain aneurism”
the singular attention to
fragile body chemistry
sodium, potassium, blood sugar, magnesium

and the waiting,
the watching
the night sentries
my sisters and me
drawn there by love

and held there by devotion
wrapped in the blood histories
the oxygen we have always shared
a common womb that formed us
growing up in proximity to
each other a witness to things
only we understand

my sisters, we clung
to her
to each other
and we each brought
the lifelines we have learned

sister pain is like no other
yes, like no other
deep aquifers of collapsed
flowing through memories
of common experiences that we
each hold uniquely
with our own distortions
and our own aspirations

All of us
we loved and mothered one another
we despised and admired
we adored and sought each other out
we missed each other
we wanted more
settled for less
hoped for better
emulated, deviated
and delighted in
and loved that we were, we are

by that bed
“Come Lord Jesus,” my prayer
my instincts
tuned to the love
to her sweet ways of understanding and caring
to her tenderness as a mother
and as a sister
to her keen mind
and her strength
I asked for mercy, mercy

amidst prayers of groaning
and embraced bodies
washes of tears
peace and
ghosts and present and accounted for

me became we
and we became new
and she found
her way back
to us

and our
regenerating cells  and new pathways
and a history
with old/new ways

Marcia headshotMarcia Mount Shoop is a theologian and Presbyterian Minister who now lives in West Lafayette, Indiana.  Her book Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ frames much of her work in churches and beyond.  She has a PhD in Religious Studies from Emory University and a MDiv from Vanderbilt Divinity School.  At www.marciamountshoop.com  Marcia blogs on everything from feminism to family to football.

4 thoughts on “A Poem About Sister Love by Marcia Mount Shoop”

  1. I shall commit your prayer to memory (pray there is enough left for such an activity) for my sisters and I now approach the time in our life spans where we could be that sister in the bed, that sister by her side, that sister flying towards home – all sisters with not enough time, not enough potency in our mantra’s & chants to safe guard one another from breathing our final breath.


  2. Dear Marcia —

    I haven’t been there recently. As one of four sisters, one who broke her neck over 30 years ago, I remember that it was hard. But my sister had her accident in southern France and the rest of us were still in the U.S. So the medical diagnoses, etc. were distant. She came back to us and to the U.S. a different person, in a wheelchair, but still vibrant, still alive. My heart goes out to you and your sisters.


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