To My Sister Helen

Hamilton, Massachusetts, 1949. Our family was in a chaotic turmoil we children accepted as normal.
          You walked me up the street to the Trussells’ barn, where their collie was nursing her litter of beautiful, still-wet newborn pups. She sensed your love, and knew you were checking on their well-being. I think she also knew we needed a sense of what motherhood could be, as within a nest of warm blankets she provided life and comfort to her babies. You spoke low with reassurance; she sighed and relaxed in contentment.
          As we took in this moment of profound calm, I mirrored your wonder, fascination and caring. Years later I recognized it as your true compassion – for both me and the animals. Your gift, to be carried with me throughout life.

Will Walsh  ©2015