My Little Sunflower

(For Kateri Athanasius, my honorary little sister)


She turned sixteen that summer

Twice as tall with fairy dust in her hair

A quiet jubilance and joyful serenity

Almost like a little sunflower.

I try to protect her from the world

But somehow she always knows

When something’s wrong

We read each other’s minds

Almost as if we were

Of the same flesh and blood.

I never had a little sister

Always wished that I did

But one day from above

Came a gift unexpected

The little sunflower

A little sister . . .


We live in a world of flying pigs

Of sugar aliens and everything in-between

Oh, it’s the randomness that makes the world go around, you see

Three years already flashing by

Like an old image in my mind

Of a fourteen-year-old girl

Asking me to look over a chapter that she wrote.

The beginning of an Alpine Path much treaded on since

Memories imprinted like pages of a school yearbook

But to me she’ll always be fourteen

The wisest fourteen-year-old around.


Now I’m sitting here

Several poems and stories since

A snapshot in time

Distant moments

Framed in half-echoes of rhyme

I look upon her Chapter Three

The ink has dried, publication clear

Age would not deter

The Little Sunflower

Little Sunflower

Keep looking up

Oh, your courage and conviction will carry you far . . .


She has waited for this day for so long

Since a child she carried

This longing from above

A candle in her hand

A medal around her neck

Two more years to 18

But an adult in the church In three months’ time

Kateri Athanasius

A name she took to mark her path

Her heart is pure and her mission clear . . .


She fights for the unborn

She listens with her heart

She smiles with a smile

That makes the darkest night bright

She sings with the angels

As quiet as she may seem

And she dreams a dream of heroes

Of saint’s tapestry

She dreams a dream of angels

Her song will be free . . .



Through laughter and tears

Every moment through the years

Side by side

Despite the distance

Far is near.

A magic carpet

Reaching to the stars

A meadow filled with laughter

A garden true and full

As deep as the sun-lit sea

Like a spring day

That never ends

A bond of sisters

Kindred spirits

Far is near.

She says that one day

When she grows up

She wants to be like me

So I’ll never fail her

She’s my little sunflower . . .

Oh, of sugar aliens and flying pigs

Of forgotten worlds and hope-filled dreams

It’s the randomness that makes the world go ’round

Three years already flashing by

Like an old image in my mind

A fourteen-year-old girl

That fourteen-year-old girl

And memories, dear sweet memories . . .


Next summer she’ll turn seventeen

But to me she’ll always be fourteen

That fourteen year-old…

Forever fourteen

The wisest fourteen-year-old I know.

Always my little sunflower.

A little sister

A sister by choice.

By Gina Marinello-Sweeney