How to Raise a Brother

Number 1 - become his best friend

     Remembering the smell of long nights
     newly blossomed, pink lilies
        lying on the carpet
        of a forgotten home

        Wanting to hear the delicate jingle
        that preceded the clang
        of yellow cups on kitchen tiles

        You fall in love with his humor
        and his intuition to touch
        every flower in the garden
        you fall in love watching SpongeBob
        in the kitchen
        and the sippy cups he’d leave
        leaking on the bed
        you fall in love wanting to show him
        all the Legos that will follow him
        into his own world of what is this?
        and where does it go?
        getting jealous when he chooses Lana
        because she has the chocolate milk
        teaching him how to climb trees
        to stay off the ground
I’ll catch you!
Remember this
Where did you go?


Number 2 – “you don’t drive him to school”

You make sure
that it is not his fault
that the boy outside
prefers nerf guns
over Legos
that the girls downstairs
don’t know how to
hold a controller
that he spends school nights
cleaning orange juice
and thrown spaghetti
that he runs ‘cross the street
to beg for a latter
that he is hit
because dad is drunk and high

You tell him to get inside your room
and don’t say a word

afraid that anything else said
will taint the heart
you built with Legos

afraid that the answer
to why is mom crying?
and why is dad leaving?
will be the wrong answer

Don’t tell your brother what to do
Because you are not the mother
You don’t drive him to school

Number 3 – Teach Him Regret and Forgiveness

because the worst thing a man can do
is prefer pride over peace
because the worst thing you can do is deny him
seeing his warm eyes turn cold
and his laughter sound distant
from a song you never gave him
from a girl you’ve never heard of

because loving is learning
and you still have him right now
when he can still love
when he can still learn

when he can still be raised by you


This poem is about: 
My family


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