I was born a poet
three years later
my sister a painter

By then I am spouting
Mary Had a Little Lamb
wanting, begging applause
her silent canvas lays beautifully empty
gradually her first words
streak and splash
grandpa’s apple tree, grandma’s lilacs

By then I am tweeting
made-up songs about Wonderland
badger her to join my Peter Pan quest but
her brush heaves high-up strokes
become stony Rockies
she dabs our little white house as if
thrown in as an afterthought

By then I revise Latin hymns
petition angels visit me in dreams
she brushes circles into a mountain lake
gestures me sit at pine-tree shore
I step inside her world of colored shapes
drop fancy words in silver ripples
watch amazed when her hand sets a sun,
rises a Montana moon

By then I am rhyming verses
patterns lifted from Mother Goose
I fling a metaphor at her
Her wistful brush answers
with clouds asleep
like cats on mountain peaks

By then I interrupt incessantly
want only my verses to be heard
but Mom and Dad fill their tranced eyes
with her painting; candle flickers
from pinprick of white house
a feast of our faces delicately etched inside

Marianne Lyon has been a music teacher for 39 years. After teaching in Hong Kong she returned to the Napa Valley and has been published in various literary magazines and reviews. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2016. She is a member of the California Writers Club, Healdsburg Literary Guild. She is an Adjunct Professor at Touro University Vallejo California.