We remain ourselves, enigmatic–
a paired paradox
of who we are–sisters
bound by blood and expectation.

Our portrait is a puzzle
to which we hold the pieces–
together we can complete it—but only
if we remain ourselves, enigmatic.

We are both similar and neither
without being either
identical or opposite–
a paired paradox.

We hold the mirror up lightly,
confronted by our artificial reflections,
the complex and divergent shades
of who we are—sisters.

But to you we reveal nothing–
only these parallel arrangements–
the outlines of our surface disguises,
bound by blood and expectation.

I wrote this cascade for The Ekphrastic Review challenge, Theodore Chasseriau’s painting The Two Sisters. I did not think it would be published, and it wasn’t.

I have brothers and no sister, but I have two daughters. They have their own special and complex world, both for and against what exists outside their relationship. I felt that strongly in Chasseriau’s painting. For my own exploration of the painting, I drew first with neocolors and then dipped them in paint to emphasize some of the color and lines. I haven’t been doing much drawing in the past year, so it feels good to just fool around with it and see what happens.

You can see the painting and published responses here.

25 thoughts on “Sisters

  1. I really like your response Kerfe, thank you for posting it here. I felt you were writing about twins, who can sometimes communicate without speaking. I often wonder if there is some kind of quantum entanglement going on…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have a sister, but I know many women who are very close to their sisters. It’s a complicated closeness though. My daughters definitely have their own world where I don’t belong at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you, I started to write a poem to this prompt and abandoned the idea. I didn’t think they’d want it. I skimmed the entries and nothing caught my eye, but I like your poem (and the drawing) very much, and the cascade works out beautifully.
    I had a cascade poem rejected after a whole string of acceptances. I was surprised because I liked it. I don’t think the Ekphrastic team like formal poems much.
    Shame because I’ve just sent in three rhyming poems for the next prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kerfe a fitting response to the artwork. I like your rendition of it as well and glad you’re dipping your brush again. I submitted for the first time because the photo did capture my imagination but it was rejected. Just posted it on my blog though if you want to check it out.

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  4. Thanks Bela. I’m not a twin–I don’t even have a sister, only two brothers. But from observation, I know the bond between sisters, even spaced years apart, can be very strong.


  5. I like yours very much, Kerfe, and I’m not sure why it wasn’t accepted. I sort of skimmed through the accepted ones, and nothing really stood out to me. I haven’t looked at the last couple of prompts.
    My daughters are three years apart, and they don’t really look alike, but you can tell they’re sisters by the way they talk and their mannerisms. When they were teens, people used to ask them if they were twins.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Merril. I’ve given up trying to figure out acceptances and rejections. Visual Verse has rejected everything of mine for months–but for awhile they were taking almost everything.
      My daughters don’t look alike either, but they have their own language as well.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Visual Verse never tells you either, which I found annoying at first, but…many places I’ve sent work to have never responded one way or the other. Even on submittable, which makes it easy, even after I inquire. I think Lorette is mostly doing it by herself, and she seems to be getting many more entries than before. But still, I don’t like being left hanging either.

          Liked by 1 person

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