Big Brothers

Big Brothers

A Poem by FlatDaddy

Family is so important to us all, perhaps even more so when they are not there.


We rarely saw each other growing up --

Different fathers, you see,

  though my mother had divorced them both.

Not having much,

  mom couldn't raise us all.

I stayed with her.

They stayed at our grandparents.

  Mama Mae, Papa Jim

  She, a big, smiley flour covered lady

    who always smelled of lilacs

  He, a large, rawboned man in cowboy boots

    who smelled of cherry tobacco from his pipe

I remember once -- a miracle! -- we all were there

   for Christmas.


Mom and I and that other man

   who smelled of beer and chewing tobacco

 lived in Texas and Indiana and Illinois and Indiana again

 and finally back in Texas

 but in a dozen houses that never were homes.

Big Brothers lived in Texas.

 With Mama Mae and Papa Jim.

 And never moved at all.


I never knew which of us was the luckiest

  but I know we all thought it,

  because I got to live with mom.

    maybe it was just me.


I thought of them both a lot:

   After mom remarried -- again.

   After he beat her, too.

   After both of them drank too much.

   After moving again

   and again,



I wondered if they ever needed me --

     but no one ever needs a little brother:

Little brothers can't chase away monsters

   when the house is cold and dark

   or empty except for little brother

   because they haven't come home from the bars

   and little brother's little bed

   is suddenly so damn big and cold --


The house is never more quiet

   or scary

   when Big Brothers live

   six states away

   and have their choice

   of Grandma or Grandpa

   or -- oh! -- each other!

   to run to when the lightening flashes

   and thunder booms!

   to cuddle with

   and finally fall asleep

   in someone's warm, loving arms.


We're all older now

 with lives and families of our own

 with children who can climb in our warm beds

 and snuggle when the lightening strikes

 the thunder booms.


We rarely see each other now

  just like way back then

  But we talk once in a while

We send instant messages --

We always close with

  "I Love You, Brother."


But sometimes,

 mostly late at night,

 when wife and child are fast asleep

 the house is dark

 the lightening flashes

 the thunder booms --

Sometimes I wonder ...

  if Big Brothers ever wish

  for little brothers

    ... to snuggle in their arms.


© 2011 FlatDaddy

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Are tears streaming down my cheeks considered a "good review"?

You sure know how to engage your audience, FD. "This" is the story I want to hear more about, the book I want to read. No pressure. Just a hint the size of Texas....

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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1 Review
Added on December 17, 2011
Last Updated on December 26, 2011
Tags: big brothers, siblings, loneliness, fear, comfort



Austin, TX

Former performance poet, actor and singer. I was injured in 2004 and no longer perform. I have written for many years, mostly performance oriented material. My injuries have caused me to be restri.. more..

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A Poem by FlatDaddy