On being an aunt

I remember you.

Painfully sounding letters, then words

Looking up, expecting criticism

Surprised by praise. Your face smoothing

From worried frown to relieved smile.

 

I still see you.

Scared and fierce. Dreading the journey.

Holding your brother to keep him safe

Not releasing the last hugs,  the last goodbyes

Breaking inside, and already knowing to hide.

 

When you came back

Almost grown, protecting those you love

With secrets and denial. They grew inside

And destroyed what you tried to build.

Years of love rejected, nearly broke you.

 

And here you are.

Almost whole. Almost healed. Almost well.

Looking into your son’s smile, you’ve found

The meaning of love, and life, and hope.

And I hold you close in my heart.

 

Always.

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