The Four Sharons

The first Sharon is my Sharon by birth,
half-sister, half-mother, whole love.
A Marilyn Monroe look-alike, always. Even
now pushing 70. She is the
perfect daughter, the one who wears
the most scars.

The second Sharon is mine by marriage,
sister-in-law, my brother’s wife of nearly 50 years.
From the time I was 4, I sat in her lap and stared
up at her lovely face.
She came in my darkest night, an angel
who stood by me as my father drew his last breath.
I cried on her breast as she stroked my hair.
Go on and cry, she said. You need to cry.

The third Sharon is mine by association, a
friend from college who grew closer through an
unplanned pregnancy. I stepped in as surrogate father,
when the real one refused.
Lamaze, labor, and delivery (both of us in bed pushing)
brought baby MacKenzie into the world.
My Sharon, now a mother.
MacKenzie, now 24 and married.

The fourth Sharon is mine by fate. It was
the worst time in my life and I tried, really tried,
not to pick the prettiest therapist—
but I did anyway. She sits in my
heart’s broken house and listens.
My Sharon, my muse, my salvation.
Another Sharon in my life, another solid place to stand
for awhile. The fourth Sharon knows
even my soul’s name.

These four Sharons…
My East, South, North, and West…
guide me in groundlessness.

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