my brother as my first poem

       should reverie find you
       listening at memory’s mouth,
       press your ear against
       the plastic cup suspended,
       hold tight to the frayed cord
       and follow it down –

                   whose ear is
            smashed on the other side,
            crinkling behind
            the green couch?

                                  who darts in

                         to perforate the  blank  ness

                                of when
                                     we were small:
                                                                                     I was balled in tiny fists
                                                           of laughter, punctuating the harmony
                                                         of our great grandma Lu’s sawing snore
                                                                                    the night you were born

                                                                        newly sister, writing us names
                                                                                            and singing to you
                                                                                          poems about books
                                                                                                         and church


       the gulls press points into
       the shallows where we stand,
       dipping our knees.
                    both hands
       like the teal tug
       that rakes our legs and lets
       go in a thousand trajectories,
       innumerable, even
       as we count them.


       The first time I knew I loved you,
       even I didn’t believe it.

       I tucked my feelings into friendship,
       small stowaways meant to vanish
       in the vagaries of miles soon between us.

       Back home,
       I peeled off my summer skin.
       But the sun clung to autumn’s arms
       and I bronzed in their embrace once
       more. The leaves lived on, taking
       their time to crest and fall.

                    I took a lover,
                    and didn’t fall in love.
       New year dawned, orange
       spilling on the blue back of spring.

       I watched the crust of cold at last cement,
       cloaking the trees in slinky coats,
       and donned my own,
                    when my hands, nosing
       for warmth in winter pockets,
       found love like a five-dollar bill,
       crumpled and scrawled with your name.

Abigail Michelini is an English instructor at Northampton Community College working on her doctorate in English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has been a lover of poetry since she was 8-years-old, when she and her dad started memorizing poems together. It has remained a life force for her ever since.