Mom, first and always
who taught me how to read,
taught by example that time
spent with books is never wasted,
taught me that ladies don’t swear
unless circumstances warrant it. 

Maggie, who showed me
that grown-ups can be silly
and fun, who took me with her
to the college classes she taught,
who listened as if my opinions mattered,
who opened her library of poets to me.

Aunt Ann, who reveled in her
international life, whose example
opened the world to me, who 
showed me impulse isn’t always bad
when she climbed a tree at fifty
just because she wanted to.

Sister, younger than me, who calls
me for advice but is so much wiser
than me in so many ways. She
listens, always, when I gripe
but only offers advice
when I ask.