To Sound Like Her


 My sister looks like my mom but nobody says that I look like her,

But when I was younger and finally brave enough to answer the phone,

they told me I sounded like her

She became a pastor and we pastor’s kids by default,

they asked me if I was going to grow up to follow my mom, I told them no

it didn’t sound like me

I meet people now who knew her first, I get introduced as her daughter,

Does that bother you, they ask? That we tell you that you sound like her?

Now I stand in the pulpit each week, having listened to her preach, now preaching myself,

wishing I could preach like her and also sound like me

Her once parishioners come to visit, when you say it that way or this way,

you know you really sound like Pastor Susan, Did you know that you sound like her?

They always say it cautiously, not wanting to offend, because they do not know

that it brings me great joy to sound like her

And to them it means tones and words and phrases

but to me it means strength and faith and conviction

it means singing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and being sarcastic

it means encouragement and sacrifice and great care

 And that it would mean the world to me, that someday

as I will parent and preach and worship and live

It might be said of me, you know, you don’t just sound like her —

you are like her.

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