image Stepsisters by Sarah Thomasin



I was the favourite once
The prettiest as well.
Like any only child
Indulged and doted on
The centre of their world.
Till she threw me aside,
That scrawny, squalling rival
Dividing mother’s love.
Father left us quickly.
He’d seen what I would be:
Because my smile twisted
And eyes that used to sparkle
Began to gleam with malice.
But I was never ugly
Before I was a sister.


The favourite? I lived in
Her shadow.
Never blossoming, tangling like undergrowth
Neglect only sharpened my thorns
(The better to hurt her unseen).
But somehow
Our mutual disgust
Turned to something like friendship
When mother remarried,
And saddled us both
With a ready made brat hanger-on
With her grey eyes and hard-done-by virtue…
But I loathed my big sister no less
For being united in hatred.


Beware my wide and innocent grey eyes.
Like ashes, soft and warm
They hide a spark,
I’ll burn you if you touch me. Stay away.
I let you hate. It serves me well.
For soon
My time will come
To rise in dazzling flames.
So leave me in the ashes, sisters dear,
And pretty soon I’ll leave you in my dust.


Sarah Thomasin is a performance poet living in Sheffield. As well as saying poems out loud at every opportunity, she has had poems published in Now Then magazine, and in two English Pen collections, two Pankhearst Slim Volume anthologies (No Love Lost and Wherever You Roam),The Sheffield Anthology (poems from the city imagined) and Poems For the Queer Revolution. She was also commissioned to create a limerick quiz about gender which appears in Kate Bornstein’s My New Gender Workbook.

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