Your sister already knew us;
you were unsure, latecomer,
stubborn and at times, we thought, thick.
The world must have been so
strange, so new, so different to you.
Your sister already knew how
to gain our affection and attention;
you were cautious, more reluctant.
Your sister already knew that
she could outrun, outsprint,
outswim, outjump you;
you made up for it in elegance,
presence, and a dignified silence.
Your sister knew what was
going to happen, and left,
taking the elephantine choice;
we got a call three days later.
But you also knew.
You knew what your sister had known,
you shared more than family ties.
You carried on, for years,
until you shook, you trembled, you shivered,
whimpering and flinching at our touch.
Something pressing on your mind,
and you could not tell us.
Your dignified silence now a burden,
the world once again a strange place.
But you knew it was too late,
and you lay your soft, black head
on the operating table, all attention on you,