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William Logan

BPR 51 | 2024

Two Sisters

—Unknown, Photographed by B. Frank Saylor, Lancaster, PA, c. 1880

Hair pulled back from their faces,
dark ruffled dresses done up
to the chin like straitjackets,

they look like petty criminals.
The older sits on the chaise,
Queen of the May.

The little one stands beside her,
of an age when the lens
holds mystery. She grips

her sister’s hand. The calf-high
buttoned boots must have been
torture, yet a distracted

parental fondness leaks in.
The dresses may have been
royal blue or blood crimson;

the hair and ribbons betray
unshowy pride. The younger girl
has been caught before the age

of wariness; but her sister
stares down the photographer
with a sullen glare

and waits for sin.