Old Family

We were almost brother and sister—

Sharing inside jokes that left others befuddled,

Matched in both wits and passion for our craft…

Now I barely recognize you.


We still keep in touch,

And, though it’s never as long or as deep as it used to be,

I relish the nostalgia it brings (though you don’t seem as fond of it as I do).

My mind is transported back to the Thursday afternoons in a quirky history classroom where

my enthusiasm contrasted constantly with your incredulity; the


Early mornings in the back of the algebra teacher’s dimly classroom

Seated at the circle table where we sang Disney ballads,

Playfully bickered, wrote on each other’s arms, and were editors to each other’s aspiring author;


A familiar open space where it all began

Laughing at the teenaged strangers who we’d eventually become.


At times, I feel like our taut bond hasn’t weathered down to tattered strings:

when we sat in your car listening to your favorite band

Or when we became philosophical in English class.


I felt it the most the night I cried to you about feeling alone.

“Why don’t I belong?,” I wailed,

“Where did I go wrong? Why am I so different?”

And then my hurting heart peeked up at your blue eyes-

I was struck with surprise at your compassion.

This was a side of you few others have seen, or even believe exist.


In my tear-soaked vulnerability, I witnessed a part of you open up again.

You felt for my pain and I saw genuine concern in your eyes,

As if I'd been badly hurt or injured.

It was hidden empathy only reserved for those who are tried-and-true to you.


Did you miss me and reconsider having a role in the narrative?

Maybe you were affected because you knew that you felt the same way sometimes.

Despite my pain then, I still treasure that moment

Because it reminds me that we’ll never truly drift apart.


I gasped for a life raft and you threw one out to pull me back into shore.

I know you never meant to overlook me,

Never meant to drift out to sea,

But I still miss the unlikely dynamic duo.

No, this is not a love poem-it never was.

It's an I-miss-our-friendship-let's-talk-like-we-used-to poem.

When you asked me to critique your art again recently, I was surprised. I thought you’d go to them for help before me. Who was I again?

But now I don’t know.

Could you be letting me back in again?

Can we be the chums we once were?

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