March 14, 2007

My Winter Skin

My winter skin.

I thought it would be easier to stop talking about you.
That I could sew together my lips
with iron-like thread,
tie a not, elaborate
(like a kite’s tail) at one end
and give myself a lopsided,
out of place look.

But although I could not speak,
I could see and every time I saw your
over-done hair, I would blink.
The pain would be terrifying,
as I attempted to pry apart my chapped,
bleeding lips.

My lips betrayed you,
betrayed the way you’d sing in the car,
and laugh whenever silence fell.
Torn, they would murmur,
and I would listen through the dark fuzz of childhood.

My hands wandered, lost and alone,
and I could not match them with yours.
They were irritated, and blushed with scratching;
I would not sit still,
unless to pin them beneath me,
imagine they were glass.

But then I saw you.
Superman-like, you streamed into my vision,

- the stitches dissolved.

But my lips have been closed for so long,
that it hurts to open them,
and people stared as I tried to utter your name.

My little brother.

Away from home,
I had forgotten your smile,
and the way your hands
rubbed your knees,
until your jeans were worn thin.
The way you walked,
heel-toe, heel-toe,
and looked over your shoulder.

My voice has died within me and my lips are scared;
my hands are peeling,
a new skin is struggling to grow.

But you smile, and pass me tea,
and tell me it’s winter.
you show me your palms,
turned to the table light,
and I see that they too have lost their first, summer skin.

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