STARTING THINGS ON FIRE

My brother is bigger than me.

I want his arms, his chest,

his face. I want to be like him,

    barricaded,

protected from my jealousy.

     I need

linoleum, density, the humm

     of hard things.

But I don’t have those kinds

     of limitations,

I only have a blaze of color,

             starting things on fire.

Under David’s black wool hat

  are a million reasons

for me not to cringe when

     it becomes too bright.

I remove my socks

    and get ready to walk

another summer for him in grass.

(My left foot is mine,

      my right foot belongs

      to my brother.)

Brian Janisse (Nov. ’18) adds, “I have always looked up to my younger brother, who lives bravely and gracefully with mental illness. He was still in a facility when I wrote this.”  

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