by sophie

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 This poem about my younger brother was featured recently at Poetry Daily. It is difficult to write about family, yet seems necessary, maybe part of being a healthy writer, at least for me. My brother hasn’t read this poem, and I don’t know what he would think of it. There are a few poems for him in my book:  “At The Round House” and “Summer Job, June.” I don’t think he’s read any of them. My brother is wildly creative, wildly talented. He writes rock operas, plays in punk marching bands, aces any instrument he picks up. He’s smarter than me, might have a photographic memory. And he’s funny too, loves animals. He’s building something in his yard, making some sort of land art inspired by his trip out here last year, when we went to see the Watts Towers. And I think my brother is rattled by the earth, and memory, and the unknown. Rattled by chemistry and perceived failure and imaginary or real expectation. I recognize that rattle in him — it’s one of the things that makes us kin. I had said for years that we were alike, something he refused to believe, found repellant actually, until not so long ago. And it was a huge relief when he saw something in us as similar, as sibling. Sometimes I love him more than I know what to do with. The poems are fraught and worried and written with the knowledge of how knit together we are. I’m grateful to have a brother who sees and feels and knows so much. It’s a question of how to hold all that in the world, and still be able to function. We have that in common too — the sometimes endless-seeming effort at just being able to be. So, I don’t know if he’d like these poems. The work that he creates is fictional, allegorical. But I hope that when he reads these someday he’ll see only the love there. If you are reading this, dear Bean, I believe in you. Never doubt that, if you can.