Greater than Twelve

I stared at his shadow on the wall. It was shaky and pale and split against the orange church paint.
He said
“You’re good. No standards you have to meet or anything to change. You’re good. Remember that.”
I didn’t meet his eyes that mirrored our father’s.
I couldn’t.
I only stared at his shadow behind his back.
His shoes are dumb old man shoes
And his flannels smelled like he always has
I have one of his floral print hats
And his copy of Catcher In The Rye.
I’m only on chapter four.
I remember ten years ago, on that creaky bunk bed, you showed me a song that stared with,
“I met a girl named Tara,
And she lived in the heart of America”
That was the first song I ever leaned the words to,
The first song I ever fell asleep to.
I wanted your matchbox cars and pens and scraps of legal pad paper at six years old.
And just the other day, at sixteen, I wanted the love in your heart and your old shirt and your thinning lyric notebook you kept in the tenth grade.
You, of all twelve of us, are most like my guardian.
Your concern and compassion for your newest littlest brother has shone through
tunnels of black in your eyes, and you still refuse to wipe your lenses on your shirt.
My throat has been closing up, and I’ve been waiting for the tears to begin
Hit with waves of nostalgia and gratitude,
But I guess I’m saving them for your wedding day.
I’m sure she doesn’t hate the stars now,
She sees them in your eyes. She has to;
They’ve been there for as long as I’ve seen them.
nine to eleven 

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