HELEN WOODWARD

MY BROTHER

'My brother
You
Hammering on my door at 3 am, face split, black and bloody

Street lamps
Black front door
The light in my living room window

A hammering so loud I thought the wood would split

Eye and hair colour mocking my own, but thick in the lips,
a certain mulish violence in the eyes.
Arrogance
Frightening loyalty

Irritation, I feel it pricking at the back of my neck, creeping across my shoulders. A bad taste in my mouth, I swallow it down, shuddering.

Protectiveness - like the orange glow of low lit lamps in bars,                  but you stand in the shadows.

And I

Waking suddenly, shocked, hurrying downstairs, calling out,
then opening the door to you when answered.

Cheap pyjamas, unironed, put on in a hurry,
hastily donned dressing gown, one slipper.

Somewhere faraway lies my future, I don't know where you will be,        but I think I'll always half expect you, hammering on my door at 3am,  split, black and bloody.

You might say
That this is what family is for, to be there when you need them

And I might answer
If I ever feel that need I'll let you know

What I will never say is
That my door is not open

A hundred years from now someone may find that picture taken of us as children aged four and five and all they will see are two faces, mockingly similar.'

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