The remark is personal and caustic
I can feel the constricting of my throat
Not wanting to create a scene in public
I blink away the tears and choke back the angry retort.
With a forced self-deprecating remark
And a shrug of shoulders, I laugh.
I have been trying to set things right
But the family ties that bind us as siblings,
Are the same ones that gag me tight.
As a kid I adored my older sibling,
Her every move I would ape
She was my hero, my mentor, I her underling
And she lorded over my mindscape.
As I grew older and wiser
I moved out of her shadow
Following my own heart and mind
As a result, her ego took a blow.
I could see the chinks in my idol
Though she could not accept that her understudy
Was not an understudy at all.
And that drove a wedge between us
That time has only deepened further more.
She tries to put me in my place
And pulls me back every time I try to soar.
Oh, we love each other like any sisters
But the undercurrent of jealousy refuses to go.
So, from my clothes to the way I keep house,
My visits to parents to anything and everything I do ever
The way I bring up my kids to my relation with spouse
Nothing escapes criticism or eagle-eyes of her.
It is not her words that cause me pain
Or that she does not rejoice in my success
It is the fact that my own flesh and blood
Rather seems to enjoy my troubles and distress.
And yet all said and done
Because blood does run thicker than water
To the world we present a united front
In public, at least, I agree with her.
The remark was not personal or caustic
But she turned around with her smile arctic
I had made a joke laughingly in light jest,
But she retorted icily in a tone so dulcet
Had we been younger,
I would have cuffed her ear
I am the elder child of the family
I love to remind it to her daily
She will always have to follow my footsteps,
This burden she will have to schlep
I can’t help if my persona looms large over her
I arrived in this world before her
This is the truth for what it’s worth
I’ve been given the upper hand from birth.
She mistakes my concern for interference
Fumes in anger, so palpable is her incoherence
Heavens, why should I be jealous of her!
After all she is my baby sister!
Well, I admit she has better hair and skin than me
I may have been jealous earlier, now I let it be
She has not inherited the beaked nose from father’s side
Nor the horrible ailments from both sides
So all I do is remind her of her good luck
And the fool thinks that I hate her guts!
I have to correct her when she goes wrong
After all, I have known her lifelong!
I don’t know why she takes offence
She should actually thank me instead
Well, she is my sibling young
And we have to present united front
Yes, I admit she has been luckier than me
Still, we are blood sisters, you see.
These poems were written sometime ago after conversations with two friends on the same day. One was complaining about her elder sister, the other about the younger one. So two poems, two perspectives.