Is it just me? Or is it always referenced
As if there are cookie cutter images
of what this is supposed to look like.
But what happens when
it’s your baby brother?
The one with those deep brown eyes,
boxed in by eyelashes
as long as giant redwoods.
I’ve always asked myself
if that’s the hiding place of all your secrets.
Has it been?
Maybe it’s too late to ask that now.
You’re dressed in what’s no more
than Dollar Tree toilet paper,
the color of an indifferent blue.
And we’ve been sitting beneath
harsh hospital lights for hours now,
overexposed to the resounding
beeps of the ER.
But you rest your head,
still waiting for someone —
anyone — to listen. You know, I know,
it’s not normal to feel this way for so long.
And, so, we wait. We talk.
I try to make you laugh.
I think this is my way of being OK, too.
Because what I don’t know yet
is the delivery of news from the doctor, and
the overwhelming sadness of leaving you there,
with all your magnified thoughts
and emotions in disarray.
Even though I know it’s all for the best,
my heart cannot find room to agree.
One week in,
I sit across from you, staring into your redwood lashes,
at a table with memorable texture.
We play checkers and talk at length,
forgetting whose turn is next.
I notice your medication seems
to talk you down from the mountaintops
and airlift you out of the trenches.
are here with your moods
finding their harmony,
in an atmosphere of cemented walls,
and puzzle boxes missing pieces.
Have I mentioned
how I am so proud of
When my visiting hours are over,
I receive that numbing look you have
given since you were small.
As if I’ll never see you again. Or, maybe,
that you will never see me again.
And my heart squeezes and burns in the
beating confusion of
it is all