April 12, 2007



If I held my breath
I could hear the steady engine of theirs
as they fearlessly slept their way to day,
my tormentors and protectors,
who taught me the power
of a dead worm in the face
but who also let the other boys know
that taunts aimed at me would never fly true
as long as they were there.

As I grew older I gave them up
or imagined I did, but yesterday,
as the rocks flew at my tent,
I reached into my drawer of brothers
scrabbling through the slingshots and jack knivesto get to my bobble-headed yes boys,
remembering the feeling of rock-muscled safety
conferred by this grafted branch of my family tree,
these brothers I never had.

(Many thanks to the women of Poetry Thursday
for their continuing inspiration,
and special thanks to Jill and Megan
for letting me "lift" their lines!)


bgfay said...

"I reached into my drawer of brothers / scrabbling through the slingshots and jack knives"

That's a great couple of lines. Those are lines I would gladly steal for the next round of this lifting a line series. I just love the idea of rummaging through that drawer. I know that drawer. I know those brothers. I'm inside those two lines.

Nicely done.

Brian said...

Very empowering poem of family love in all it's color and turmoil.

Crafty Green Poet said...

the complexities of families. I've never had brothers and never invented any either, I wonder why not?

gautami tripathy said...

I have 3 brothers. This poem kind of describes what I have shared with my brothers. Still do to some extent.

Regina Clare Jane said...

I loved this, Shelley! I had three brothers and there were three of us girls and each older brother took one of us little sisters as his charge. Your line, "tormentors and protectors" was just spot on!
This was wonderful!

Marcia said...

I loved the vision of reaching into the drawers and the ending of your poem. I didn't get the same meaning from it that the others did, but I was quite content with the one I came up with. I really liked this.

jillypoet said...

I always wanted brothers, "bobble-headed yes boys." Great line! This is a powerful poem. I like the surprise of the last two lines. Thanks for using my line!