February 7, 2021.
13 years apart

i raised you differently

my mother said to me
that my big sister was always fighting
always in people's faces, never apologizing
she grew up quick but stayed damn near the same height

"but i raised you differently, the complete opposite
trying to learn by my mistakes
you know i love you equally
but i wanted to give you common sense instead of spite"

and when my sister was smoking cigarettes
i was asking my mother for band-aids for invisible wounds
and when my sister was shaving her hair and wearing cheap wigs
i was promising i would never get highlights like the girls at school

when my sister was getting tattoos
i was scared to death to color outside the lines
when my sister brought home her boyfriend with painted nails
i asked mom why i wasn't allowed to paint mine black too

and when we laid mom to rest
i looked up at my big sister, lost and confused
realizing how short life is
and that maybe some risks are worth having a bruise

and she told me to find myself
to not let anyone else sway me--not even her
because i had the pesky habit of looking up instead of forward
and my body had just caught up to my footprint

and when my sister was drinking vodka
when her children were going to bed
she fell on top of her coffee table
knocking over pops cans full of cigarette ashes and dread

she would not take my hand
because i knew she had been raised differently
but we were both in our own fights with grief and death
and we found ourselves withering

when my sister couldn't afford to buy her cigarettes
i caught her rummaging through her lawn for spare butts
and though she laughed at herself, there was nothing i could have said
it left a lasting impression and a deep cut

and at a time when i had faith
i would pray for her and ask my mom
why she couldn't have raised me differently
because i'm too timid to save her

Poetry by aidan haskel The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 489 times
Written on 2021-02-07 at 10:57

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josephus The PoetBay support member heart!
Powerfully written with a very perceptive eye. You maintain an almost unconscious subtle rhythm throughout the poem that holds the reader compelling to the finish. Well done!

ken d williams The PoetBay support member heart!
Bravo, aidan. An exalant work.
Ken D

Sometimes, indeed often, your poems bring us to a place of pain, but they do so brilliantly, with compelling diction and images that shine (sometimes like diamonds, sometimes like shards of broken glass).