poetry break for two drops of ink

Poetry Break: Claudia Ricci: Praying for My Sister

By: Claudia Ricci


Editor’s Note

Claudia’s poem “Praying for My Sister” is a stand-alone piece, however, once she submitted it, I asked her to write an introduction for the inspiration for the poem. Not because it required explaining, but to give readers and writers encouragement to write through their thoughts and feelings during difficult times.

Claudia’s Response:

Last September, the day before she turned 63, my sister Karen suffered a very serious brain hemorrhage. She required emergency surgery to remove a clot the size of a tennis ball from the left side of her brain. The doctors weren’t sure if she would recover from the stroke. Thankfully, she has done well in rehab, learning to walk again and to talk, with difficulty.

For me, there was only one response possible to this heartbreaking tragedy: poetry. It isn’t the first time that words have come to my rescue in a time of trouble. In 2002, I had lymphoma – I had a tumor the size of a cantaloupe in my chest.

Throughout the grueling chemo and radiation, I composed a collection of poems I called “Riding My Kite Through Lightning.” Those poems helped me to heal and to cope.

Poems to me are often like prayers. And so, today, I offer up another poem, hoping that words once again will work their magic.



Poetry Break: Claudia Ricci: Praying for My Sister Marilyn L Davis


Praying for My Sister


First, I remember this:

a vision of my sister

at maybe two or three.

She has chocolate hair,

cut in a bowl shape, and

a round happy face.

Later, when she outgrows it,

I will keep waiting for her to be

that sweet baby once again.

I am three years older than my sister.

One day, I am playing with my friends

down the street from the house that my dad built us

in Bristol, Connecticut when I notice my baby sister

making her way down the road.

I am horrified as she is naked from the waist down.

Barefoot too.  A very devilish little grin.

I am wearing a navy blue sweater.

I race to my sister’s side,

rip off my sweater

wrap it tight around her bare backside.

Did I carry her home or lead her by the hand?

When I get there, my mother tells me

my sister wet her pants. Mom sat her on the

back porch without a diaper.

Fast forward through the hellish

months when she wore a diaper

and a feeding tube.

My sister’s hair is very short.

a brown helmet on her head.

That vicious scar

where there were three dozen bloody staples on her scalp

is hidden.

She learned to walk again.

She learned to speak.

Two weeks ago,

on a cold January afternoon,

I didn’t expect to find her

sitting in the pitch black

bawling like a baby.

I took her in my arms

and kissed her head

and fed her words of love.

If words could heal

I would write without

stopping I would kiss her

daily I would do whatever

it takes to make her remember

that infinity of love

that we were born with.

Come, now, say this prayer

with me

that she may find the

spirit to believe in

miracles, and

the determination

to move her arm


And that she has the

the courage to open

her heart and grin.



Bio: Claudia Ricci, Ph.D

claudia ricci Ph.D. Monthly Contributor at Two Drops of Ink Marilyn l davisClaudia Ricci, Ph.D., was a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and a prize-winning reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, where one of her projects was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Her novels include:

  • Dreaming Maples, published in 2002, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize
  • Seeing Red, January 2011
  • Sister Mysteries, July 2018

Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines nationwide.

Ricci spent 15 years teaching English and journalism at the University at Albany and was a visiting professor for one year at Georgetown University.

To order her novels, visit her website at www.http://claudiajricci.com.

Two Drops of Ink posts:

Novel Beginnings

Blood Ink 

Of Hummingbirds and Lions

Red Bird Alert

Gabriela’s Moon

Feeding on Light

The Keys to Happiness

A Cup of Poetry


Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing 


Two Drops of Ink is an award-winning site and would welcome your submissions in multiple genres – poetry, short fiction, memoir, personal essay, and of course a how-to on improving writing for bloggers and writers. Consider a guest post today. 


  1. Claudia, Such beautiful feelings for your sister as well as the reality of the pain of the situation. Words to the rescue. Thank you for sharing this painful time with us. Prayers for you both.

  2. Poems are like prayers – how very true. Thanks for such s touching piece. I wish your sister many more happy and fulfilling years

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