I know you’re scared.
I know the world has handed you
an outline of the life
you’re expected to live,
placed stickers shaped like
black footprints on the floor
in front of you and declared,
And you, Little Brother,
with wide eyes and sweaty palms,
still stand looking at the floor.
When was it our feet became glued
and stapled to the things we know for sure?
The bigger we became,
the bigger the world,
in sync with us, grew,
till it towered over our tiny blonde heads,
that just yesterday
were bobbing in rock pools
and bent over acrylic paints
and blank pieces of paper.
I know, Little Brother,
we haven’t been getting along.
But the truth is
your fear is a mirror,
and I’m too ashamed to look
for long in your reflective gaze.
I, too, am clutching the checklist
I never asked for,
still hesitant to throw it away.
Fear, like a double-headed snake
keeps us hiding in the shadows,
crippled by what we’re told we must do,
yet desperate not to disappoint.
We never even thought to don armour together,
walk into battle side by side.
When the villain has two faces,
why wouldn’t it take two heroes to finish him?
Maybe the problem isn’t that
we don’t know how to move,
but that in a time where the lines
between “you” and “I”
mix into each other like vapour,
we’ve simply forgotten how to do it alone.
So Little Brother, can you try one more time
to pick up your sword?
I’ll help defend your heart,
if you help defend mine.
And perhaps with alternating
strikes and feints,
we might best the beast together
and find above what we thought
was a wreckage,
a spot to stand as one
and tell in a smile
the worries we couldn’t put aside for ourselves,
that were so easy to shed for each other.
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