Sapling Love

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Big brother was as indisputable and as timeless an
Obstacle to our love as the redwood tree that obstructed
The sun-street to the kitchen window.
Big brother, best friend. Loyalties that stretched to the ends of his birth.

Super Nintendo tussles with brother threatened detection;
connecting beacon glances redirected...
Our strategically chosen teams forecasted
Losing, losing, losing and always losing because
“I like you”
And
“I like you too”
- Formed urgently with mute mouths shaping the air;
lip-traced words flicked back again, like shh paper aeroplanes -
Had ballooned into eclipsing triumphs,
Kindled a greater sun
That quieted the earth sun and undid the redwood obstacle.

And we were brassy
As pint-sized lion cubs,
When the not having won
Is a promise of something

For a week, at least, before the cloud
Of what Peter and Charlotte did -
In the teddy tent,
In the nursery,
While downstairs her mother separated egg yolk -
Settled like flour and
Her raised skirt hemline
Was also another line that split evenly the
Grass we knew from the sci-fi sky

Love
“I love you,” he said. “I would be honoured if...”
The inside buzzing of flattery flies had died with the nip
Of Charlotte’s mother’s unknowing eggshells
I had wronged
My mother, downstairs, mashing mung beans
Usurped
My brother,
Even the Super Nintendo
Had been used as a decoy
To assume the guise of virtual normality

Was it that the sepia boards beneath me
Had unsettled, grown choppy with the agitations of cellar worms?
Was that this imbalance? Or had my left leg grown longer?
The thought made me hope that the act
Of hugging myself would cancel out
The train furrows that wound around me
Where his arms had awkwardly held me, for the first
And the last time.
Extinguish his words, that could not crumple the
Redwood tree, after all:
“Nothing’s changed. We’re just the same as we ever were.”





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