My Sisters

Catholic Poetry Room
This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Margaret Adams Birth.                                                                                                                                         

My Sisters

My sisters . . . We sit around a dining table,
books open on the surface before us.
This is our call to contemplate—don’t hesitate
to speak: our words are sacred here,

whatever we confess kept sacrosanct,
whatever we forgive (in ourselves or in others)
freed from its squeezing the life out of our hearts and souls.
My sisters . . . We sit around a dining table

ostensibly discussing some faith-based text—
we call this a churchwomen’s book club, after all—although we
often shift off-topic, as we share and counsel and console, with
books open on the surface before us.

Eight of us (give or take—mostly give), we group two by two
on each side of the perfectly square table, as if
to show that no one is greatest, no one is least—and no one is alone.
This is our call to contemplate—don’t hesitate

to come together in this community;
we’re all of value here—
each has a gift, each a word
to speak: our words are sacred here—

like spiritual descendants of Deborah,
we try to speak truth to power . . . and to love; we try
to figure out where we belong in the chapters of our lives, and
to find new meaning in the phrase “the family of God.”
My sisters . . .

Margaret Adams Birth, a native North Carolinian who has lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, upstate New York, southern California, a rain forest in Trinidad, and now in New York City, is the author of Borderlands (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Her poetry has appeared in more than 50 journals including, most recently, Plainsongs, Chantarelle’s Notebook, pif Magazine, BlazeVOX, and Awakened Voices. She has published short fiction, short nonfiction, and even a few comic books under the pen names Maggie Adams and Rhett Shepard. Her poem “Faithful” appeared in the Catholic Poetry Room in 2019. She is a permanently professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order. You can find her online at

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About the Author

Jeffrey Essmann, ICL Poetry Curator To submit poetry to be considered for the Catholic Poetry Room, visit our submission guidelines page.

Jeffrey Essmann is Poetry Editor for and always searching for the best Catholic poetry from today's poets as well as those of the past.

Jeffrey is an essayist and poet living in New York. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review and The Road Not Taken. He is a Benedictine oblate of Mt. Saviour Monastery.

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