Sisters conflicted over roles


(This interview has been edited for clarity and length)

Ismene? The youngest one?

Now there’s a piece of work I love.             


A foil? Of course! She obeys, I resist.

Deliberates to my impulsiveness.

Calls me obstinate

when I go for brave.

It’s a major story line:

my world is never hers;         

hers is never mine.


She wants what? Center stage?

Can you hear it now?

The chorus sings: Too weak …

untragic flaws … can’t bear

the weight of her father’s curse

or some such things.

Not the stuff of heroines!


Of course she’s swept aside.

What’s a stronger sister for?

Look. Here’s the bottom line:

in this doomed world

prophets come to taunt the great.

We’ve known this all our lives.

She’s better hiding in the dust

than waiting for the cue to die.

Enough. Let’s go back. You asked

about my father’s final days.










Copyright © 2016 Carolyn Martin.

Carolyn Martin retains all rights to this work, granting Fickle Muses one-time, non-exclusive electronic publication rights. Please contact the creator to request permission for reprints or other uses of this work.

Previously published in: "Isaac: Chapters One to Wondering" Previously published in Sisters Today, 1975
"Goliath's Wife" Previously published in Carolyn Martin, The Way a Woman Knows (Portland, Oregon: The Poetry Box, 2015)
"Sisters conflicted over roles" Previously published in Carolyn Martin, The Way a Woman Knows