my mother reasoned that what she felt was just the
n e g a t i v e s p a c e
that came along with an empty nest,
but dad and i knew that sadness had
silently crept into the crevices you left vulnerable.
you told me to picture the world like concentric circles,
you sat me down and whispered that you fit into a different circle than we did
but dad thought that if he shook you hard enough, something in you would
shift back to square one,
a blank slate,
i knew it was a lost cause.
i sat with tight-lipped admiration for you as i read the psalms.
my older brother skips church, i thought, trying to force feelings of rebel pride.
my older brother skips church, and he wears eyeliner, and tobacco smoke pours from his lips like steam from a manhole cover on the streets of new york.
i liked watching you get ready for dates,
watching you flick the black pencil up at the corner of your eyes,
pulling your eyelid up with your thumb and forefinger.
and the world was reborn.