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Tom Backen


Soul Portrait tom backen
(for Kate)

You are destined to be
an old woman with no regrets.

You always knew your way around.

You had to learn early,
Tip-toeing through the landmine
Of dad’s uncertain explosions.

Your path was hardest.
In a family cloaked in silence,
having a voice
couldn’t have been easy.

A sixties child with rebellious brilliance
Whose future was blowin’ in the wind,
You led the way
Breaking rules and crossing oceans,
Giving birth to a sorrowful corner of your heart.

You would be a black sheep
except you never followed others.

You are an elemental woman;
Earth, air, water, and fire
Flow in your veins.
A goddess of the earth,
so intuitive a spirit, you knew me before I myself.

You, Aunt Sandra’s innocent flower girl,
The spectacled junior high spelling champ with the radiant smile,
The first to go to college,
The lover of books and ethereal ideas,
With wisdom beyond words,
You have found your voice.

Yes, you,
beloved sister,
are destined to be
an old woman
with no regrets.