The Bad Sister & The Discordant Grape

Lois Marie Harrod

The Bad Sister

It’s a bit part, a jot of nastiness  
at the beginning of the good sister’s story,  
and then the rot-ever-after,
the bad sister slinking at the edge of the castle grounds,  
living as best she can on acorns and mushroom soup.   
Stay where you are, the good sister tells her,  
don’t come to the parlor and mess up my children  
with your green lacquered nails,  
no one takes your recovered memories seriously,
besides, you could have stayed at Hard Knock College,
where you could have got something  
besides that fine arts degree,
who’s going to buy your Dark Well series  
with all its muddied blues?
And as for starting over,
if you quit your job at Lilies of the Valley  
Telemarketing and Collection Agency  
where you say you work so hard,  
now it’s carpal tunnel syndrome, lifting the phone,
who’s going to pay the doctor’s bill if you quit?   
Didn’t they pay for two months at a Tampa clinic  
so you could lose all that weight and get over that food addiction of yours.
But the bad sister just can’t stand her job anymore,
calling one customer after another with bad credit rating,
today she is calling herself, asking how long
it will be until she can pay the bill.
In the end, she says, the question is  
what to do with the body, where to put it.
You can lose half of it, she says and it returns.
She buys herself a pair of silk panties she can’t afford.
The truth is that the bad sister is the smart one, the brilliant one,
the one with the long memory. The good sister forgets.


The Discordant Grape

The grape wanted to agree with the other grapes  
but when he set forth his opinion, they all disagreed.   
I am sweet, he said. No, you are sour, they said.   
Don’t you see how the fox eyed you and walked away.  
I am dry, he said. A grape fit to become a raisin.   
No, they said, you are wet. A grape fit to become a wine.   
A white wine, he said.   
No, they said, red.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 13th and 14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press in 2011. Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook (Iowa State). She is widely published in literary journals and online e-zines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey. Read her work at