You have stood by me these two and a half years
and I still don’t know your names.
Nameless, you have steadfastly endured
beside me, slender, tall, always reaching
you rise straight up from the earth
past the concrete, the glass, to the sky.
At night you brush the soft grey light
You even out the clouds.
While I sleep, you are the roost of angels
In the day you pull down the sun
You suck it out of the sky
You entice it to stay
You hold the light in your arms while I sleep.
My sister Christine Ruth Wiebe wrote this poem when she was living in Chicago, on Tuesday, February 12, 1991.
Ann Hostetler and my mother Katie Funk Wiebe are working on a special issue of the Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing focusing on Christine and Sylvia Bubalo, two writer/artists whose inspiring spiritual and artistic journeys deserve a wider audience. Both struggled with chronic illness as well. Christine’s flavor was systemic lupus erythematosus.
I have been going through Christine’s letters and writings to find poems which she never showed to anyone, and this is one of them. She also made the drawing, which was separate from the poem, but I joined them together here. For the most part I have preserved her punctuation, but I am thinking that had she lived to publish this poem, she probably would have added a few periods here and there.