Ate's Poem


You are my big sister, whether you like it or not.

You are my meditation. Teaching you to breathe was my world's Big Bang.

And then you sang to me, big sister-- Industrial Revolution, everything changed.

And "Some nights I stay up" wishing I could be your missing parts, because you don't deserve to have been bought in Ikea.

Easy, big sister, now you’re laughing too wholly.

You are my one and only.

Like the lonely cocoon we saw after you learned how to look for ladybugs. You are the spots on my delicate shell.

My world with you is interstellar. Your hello is like the sunrise.

But no need to shield my eyes, because

You are my sweet melanin, embedded deep within my skin. Only daylight and you get me out of bed.

You are the reason "I've got sunshine,"

“Sweet Child of Mine,”

“This Little Light of Mine,”

You... Are my moonshine.

My methamphetamine. You are the fix for anxious fidgeting and tapping fingers; you are my Adderall. You are the cure to crushed spirits and scissor cuts; you heal my burns from cigarette butts,

But you sold me my first pack.

I’ve made you my drug, big sister, that is, I’ve convinced myself that life without you is simply not worth living, and the needle in my arm just keeps giving,

Because you just had to love me back.

You are my missing teeth, big sister, the parts that need returning

You know I'm a heavy smoker, but you keep the cigarettes burning.

You are my muse. My inspiration.

You gave me the strength to finally say, “I've loved you for so long and with so much of my heart I'm giving it all to you.

You are my music. My melody. You are mellifluous, my symphony. I'm sorry I said what I did; don't look at me. I am ashamed.

I never meant it, big sister.

Please don’t let me, big sister, be all alone.

Big sister, I do regret it, please. My heart is breaking.

You’re in my fingerprints, my outreached hand--

My nervous shaking ends with you,

You are my meditation.

My melanin. I let you in like cigarette smoke.

Take this poem: it’s my token.

My love note.

My “thank you.”

My apology. Mae, how you’ve grown right in front of me.

My little girl is my big sister is-- my God, she’s all grown up now.

I overlooked her maturing, forgot to read in between the laugh lines, never anticipated flat lines, forgot what it's like to be left behind.


Big sister, you are mine. My right hand man; I tower over you with the same possession that he does, but... He's started walking on your left side.

Take a look at what's inside.

“Where am I? But I am not.”

Look at your hands. Which one is mine?

You know we cannot compromise.

Look at me. My red eyes, my old soul.

To me, you are everything.

But you are so much more.


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