Friday, December 19, 2014


I beat my sister at Oware today
in two hours of nearly untroubled silence.

As children,
we didn't see eye to eye often.

She insisted our dolls should have
perfectly brushed straight hair.
I learned to use scissors.

She wanted to sleep on the top bed.
I claimed it first!

I learned how to use a lighter.
She got burned.

We were both afraid of the dark.
I came up with a monster under the bed.
[we called it 'Mrs. Wig']

As children,
we were regularly warned by the father

we wouldn't be let into the world
if we didn't make peace with each other.

We were grounded for years,
I remember.

I complain about her sluggishness,
she still makes fun of my math.

(From left to right: Daniela, me and Kelle)

  • There's a one-year age difference between Kelle and me, this poem is for/about her.
  • Oware is an abstract strategy game among the bigger Mancala family of board games. They say you can't be selfish if you play Oware. I was incredibly selfish as child. Thank God I also had sisters growing up.
  • Oware works with two sacred principles: you must sow if you want to reap and you must learn to give if you want to receive.


  1. After I looked up Oware, this poem opened up and let me see the strategies among siblings. And the silence in 2 hoursof play may seem precious now. Fine. fine. Thank you, Kenia, for the amazing comment you left on my blog recently.

    1. Ah Susan, I am the one to be thankful for your attention and wise critique. <3

  2. This is delightful, Kenia. I wish I had had that game when my girls were growing up!

  3. This is a very similar poem to my own life. I have two younger brothers and we always have our squabbles. Not so much now that we are older though, but this definitely reminded me of those days.

    There is a game that I play that is similar to the two sacred principles of Oware, and that game is an ancient strategy board game called Go. It originally was developed and created in China many years ago, but since then has expanded drastically all over the world. It definitely is a game that teaches patience and weighing out whether a person should take or throw away.

    1. I've always craved a brother, because I've always had a mind very different from my sisters'. And I also play Go - love it. I learned it from an old boyfriend of mine, the only person I know who could play it. After we broke up, I was forced to rely on online Go servers, I usually play on Pandanet.

      Thanks for a lovely comment. I'm glad to hear the poem brought good days back to your mind.


  4. Got to love sisters . . . this reminded me of the time I tried giving my sisters Sindy doll a bobbed haircut only to have it turn into a crew cut. . . . I like you I was the one with the scissors! I also got the top bunk. :) She got her own back though. I've always hated the ticking of a clock so she would hide one in my bedroom that was super loud.

    1. Oh Kathryn, I'm so glad to hear your sisterhood stories and learn we've had things in common as children! Thanks for sharing a comment here.


  5. Anonymous12/20/2014

    sweet pen. i had the top bunk and endlessly pestered my younger brother, who, somewhat surprisingly, has forgiven me ~