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Glass Slippers & Glass Ceilings

A sestina of sisterhood

By D.K. ShepardPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
Glass Slippers & Glass Ceilings
Photo by Felicity Lynn on Unsplash

There are moments I remember, daydreams

Of gold carriages pulled by white horses,

Magic spells, and dancing shoes made of glass;

A story of a maid who scrubs and dusts

Then becomes a princess and gets a crown.

These memories of whispered messages;


Hushed words of hideaways and messages

Of our castles built with bed sheets and dreams.

We wore clip-on earrings and paper crowns,

A broomstick with a yarn mane was our horse.

At night we’d lift up the edge of the dust

Ruffle checking for monsters, and find glass


Marbles. Notes scribbled in crayon in a glass

Jar, floating in the drainage ditch, messages

In unlikely bottles, some pixie dust;

All meant for Neverland, our Lost Girls’ dream;

A land in the stars where we’re free to horse

Around, immortal flower wreaths for crowns.


A decade later we’ve got our gold crowns –

Capping our teeth. We’ve traded our glasses

For contacts, it’s too expensive to horse-

back ride, and we talk with text messages.

You are six inches taller now, our dreams

Have changed a time or two, but when we dust


Our eyes with shimmer, we still think of dust

That can make us fly. They tell us the crown

Of success is at least six figures. Dreams

About corner offices, walls of glass,

Should be our aim they say. “Send a message,

And make your mark!” they shout until they’re hoarse.


But we still yearn for knights astride horses.

We’ll play their game and when we fall, we’ll dust

Ourselves off, serve our time as messengers

For the boss; we’ll climb the ladder and crown

Our checkers to win the game; break through glass

Ceilings of our own, all the while dreaming


Of wild horses, mermaids, and jeweled crowns,

Not forgetting the message of our dreams:

Love lasts, towers of glass crumble to dust.


Author's note - This poem was inspired by childhood memories I share with my younger sister and by reflections on the reality that we’ve both grown up. I’m entering it in The Dragon Beside Me challenge because my sister embodies all the traits a dragon represents: "strength, love and determination, mixed with a little sprinkle of enigmatic magic dust."

She might be younger, but I look up to her literally and figuratively.

Her strength impresses me constantly in her ability to take on new challenges. Most recently she completed a pharmacy school rotation in Paraguay and graduated with her doctorate of pharmacy. Accomplishments that leave me in wonder of her tenacity. She is a leader too, full of a harnessed fire.

I am fortunate to be a recipient of her fierce love and loyalty. She is thoughtful and intentional in all that she does. Having her as my maid of honor at my wedding last year was a memory I will always cherish. She is both my sister and my dearest friend.

My sister is incredibly determined and works so hard to be diligent in all that she does. She has pursued academic excellence relentlessly and dedicated herself to being skilled in her field. She honors her commitments and does not neglect what matters most.

As for “enigmatic magic dust”, she exudes it everywhere she goes. She has the most glorious sense of humor and can leave a room full of family and friends breathless from laughing so hard. People are drawn to her caring spirit and genuine kindness.

I have been beyond blessed to have had her beside me throughout the roller coaster of growing up and venturing into adulthood. From dressing up in matching Halloween costumes to phone calls from different states, she has always been and still remains my partner in crime.

My sister is the dragon beside me and I can't wait to see how she continues to inspire me and others in the years to come.


About the Creator

D.K. Shepard

Character Crafter, Witty Banter Enthusiast, World Builder, Unpublished novelist...for now

Fantasy is where I thrive, but I like to experiment with genres for my short stories. Currently employed as a teacher in Louisville.


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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (8)

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  • John Cox3 months ago

    This poem is a beautiful elegy to childhood and a forceful reminder of the challenges, frustrations and obstacles that make adulthood so difficult to navigate. Your sister is clearly a very strong and impressive person. It's wonderful that you have someone like that in your life!

  • Oneg In The Arctic3 months ago

    I truly love the story you wove so poetically here

  • L.C. Schäfer3 months ago

    Gorgeous tribute to your sister, how lucky you both are to have such a close bond as sisters!

  • Bonnie Bowerman3 months ago

    I loved this! It was moving and just all round wonderful! Well done!

  • Penny Fuller4 months ago

    What a wonderful gift you have given your sister here. Truly lovely.

  • Dana Crandell4 months ago

    A bit of nostalgia and a whole lot of triumph! A lovely tribute and a great challenge entry!

  • Rachel Deeming4 months ago

    What a wonderful tribute to your sister! She sounds very inspirational. I love the idea of brooms as horses.

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