Signs of Spring

It was summer
Your eldest sister was away at university
Her room became your room.

Look out that window and see the cone of the volcano
Look down and see the mother hen clucking
And her yellow chicks running
Look a little farther to your left and see
Your mother reading the National Geographic
On the patio outside the kitchen
It was her favorite spot
After noon, after lunch
She rested from a full morning
Of housework and errands
She read quietly for many hours
Then later your father joined her
They sat together and talked
You were fourteen
Your parents
Were always together
For almost sixty years.

It was Christmas
You were going to the mountain to attend camp
Your eldest sister met you at the pier.
You spent Christmas
New Year’s Eve and Day
The streets were empty
Your footsteps echoed on the pavement
As you walked to the chapel.

On your eldest sister's birthday.
The day your father passed away
You were told the house smelled like roses
For a year, almost every day unless it rained heavily
Your mother faithfully visited his grave.
Then one day it was her turn to go
Three days before your second elder sister's birthday.
The people in their lives make
Some people lucky and
Some people blessed
You are both.

It was August
Outside your eldest sister's room
Your elder brothers were in the yard
Under the mango tree

In your eldest sister's room
Look across from where you sat
Your third elder sister was gravely ill.
There you were with your eldest sister
And your second elder sister
And your fourth elder sister
And your younger sister sister
The room was filled with laughter.
You snapped a photograph
Your third elder sister, Leah waved at the camera.

The day Leah died three days after
Your eldest sister's birthday
Leah took a little bit of everyone
And left a whole lot of herself in all of you.

Signs of spring
The trees are budding
Today is your eldest sister's birthday
Today you celebrate
She is the love that holds everyone together.
Wherever she is,
Is home.
Give thanks.

To my beloved sister Inday Ched
Happy Birthday
I cannot thank you enough
For everything you do.
I love you.