Day 6 – Poetry for Lent

Brother in Arms

I sat down to write this In celebration of my brother’s birthday–but it didn’t go exactly where I expected it to go. Such is the way of writing….

Brother in arms he was
two years younger
but alike as two
blonde-haired, blue-eyed
peas in a pod.
Together we
terrorized the neighborhood with pea-shooters
and ding-dong-ditch-it,
wandered the woods
impersonating book characters
--Henry Ware and Silent Tom--
building forts during the summer
and burrowing through snowbanks
in the Michigan winters.
On other days we christened ourselves Scott and Greg,
smoked cigarette butts found on the street 
(once was all it took to kill that habit),
ate snot berries plucked off yew bushes
(thankfully not the seed later found to be poisonous),
and attempted to create the world's largest ball of gum
--not all the additions chewed by us.

Brother in arms he was
but not me
"You're a girl"
a neighborhood kid pointed out
one hot shirtless summer day
when we were putting baby snapping turtles
through the races in the front yard.
Such a small change
--shirts and skins--
but then came middle school
with new friends, boyfriends and girlfriends
and though still blonde and blue-eyed,
we were no longer peas in a pod.

Brother in arms he was
but we fought different wars
in high school and college
dragons, secrets and skirmishes
closeness becoming competition
battles over the cat
ending at the point of a knitting needle
until time, distance
and busy schedules
saw the brotherhood disbanded
save for occasional reunions
where news of accomplishments
--battles fought and won--
bring respect and admiration

and a wistful longing
to go back to my childhood days
where I parted ways with
my brother in arms
and travel a different path

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