Joanne M. Clarkson

Sky of Four Sisters


Four firs marked the northern edge
of our acres. Our welcome, we
watched them for miles calling us
home. Our warriors, they shielded us
from the worst of winter storms, moss
cushioning our ice. In summer we
camped beneath their feathered
shade, lazy with evergreen breezes.

“We live at Four Sisters,” we would say
and everyone knew our place.

So that after a lightning strike took down
the eastern-most tree, we didn’t change
our address, still seeing her sway
like a Kirlian print, pinnacle home to falcon
and crow, needles a mist of cocoon spin.

‘Four Sisters’ on a mailbox;
how memory continues a sacred name.
How some bonds have such deep
roots, that even the wind
honors their space.


“Sky of Four Sisters” was previously published in Caesura.


Joanne M. Clarkson is the author of two books of poems: Pacing the Moon (Chantry Press) and Crossing Without Daughters (March Street Press). Her work has appeared recently in Hospital Row, Amoskeag Review, Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease, and Shadow and Light: A Literary Anthology on Memory. She has a Master’s Degree in English and has taught but currently works as a Registered Nurse specializing in Hospice and Community Nursing in Olympia.