February 12, 2008
By Kathryn Mahan, Fredonia, KS

The rain clicks
hard and icy on my windows
The windshield of the neighbor's car
is white with condensation
The trees are bare
the day is grey

My brother sits on the icy porch swing
with his girlfriend, kissing
He has a blue knit stocking cap
and her sandy hair is hidden under a hood
Their cheeks are rosy and their eyes glitter
They look so aliveā€¦

The black dog yawns
stretches, and comes to my still hands
He begs for attention with
his damp nose and quivering whiskers
I scratch his ears and
he wags his tail, once

My brother moves closer
to his girlfriend
Their breath is visible in tiny white clouds
She smiles at something he says
They both are cold
but happy, and together

The dog startles me
with his cold nose.
I return my hand to his head.
He looks out the window to my brother
He hopes rain will turn to snow
and we will go play

My brother glances back
away from his girlfriend
and sees me in my chair
I know he will be angry with me
but instead he smiles sadly at me
because I've never been kissed

The dog smells
something interesting in the kitchen
He leaves my hand damp
and cold and still
I look after him
but he doesn't notice

My brother and his girlfriend
go to her car
and the windows begin to turn white
I look down at my hands
I can understand
'bittersweet' now

When my brother takes her home
and comes inside alone
His cheeks are flushed
and the sparkle is still
in his eyes
and he smiles at me.

I won't meet his gaze
look at it, but not into it
but he doesn't mind.
He pulls a chair next to me,
'You'll find somebody you love'

And I nod
looking at my hands
The rain clicks on the window
harder than before
I look up at my brother
who is looking out the window

He looks over to me
but I look away quickly
'You'll find somebody'
he repeats
and I look up at him.
After a moment,
I smile.
'I know'

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