Sisters

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.