“My Terrible Sister” by Nick Hébert

Nick Hébert (age 14)


My terrible sister won’t get out of my room.
First there was a knock—a quick rap—then kerplunk,
she plopped on my pillow, smiling all smug,
said she’s spied on someone, had a secret—or two.

Click. I closed my laptop. Came closer.
Yes, that was a mistake. Never let someone see
your pitter-patter of curiosity. Blackmailers call
that inflation. It only raises their rates.

Forty dollars or she’d say no more.
Unacceptable, right? I tried to find a compromise,
like I’d agree not to flick her head in the car anymore.
But she stuck firm. I understood. She was an entrepreneur.

Now, forty dollars poorer, I know a thing or two,
like he said and she said, and who’s dating who.

from 2015 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Nick Hébert: “Poetry appeals to me because it uses a minimum number of words to tell a bigger story. That’s powerful.”

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