wrapped in your name is a hundred games of hide and seek, afternoon tea parties, and the squiggles of letters as i taught you to read goodnight moon and if you give a mouse a cookie. we were ten dirtstained fingers, one broken arm, four firefly eyes, two dark heads bowed as if in prayer over your broken-syllabled benediction.
every shopping cart is a cage from when we were wolves caught in the grocery store, growling at strangers until our mother made us get out and walk. the nightlight still plugged into the corner socket glows with every breath you took as you fell asleep when they moved your crib into my room.
one day at school they told you the rainforests were disappearing, and you hid in your bunkbed and cried for hours. when i finally found you, you made me promise we would both give our entire allowance to protect the trees. we washed our hands and said grace and ate dinner, and you never stopped caring about beautiful things.
i taught you how to read, and how to drive
and how to leave.
your life is a thomas the tank engine train track written in my skin, sealed with bunny eared loops as we sat side by side on the bottom stair and tied our first big kid shoes over and over.
your name is in my blood, your blood is my blood is your blood is my blood
i could feel my bones cracking hard along the fault lines, could feel warnings in the deep earth, in places that cannot be measured by the number of trees climbed or lego castles destroyed. so brother, (your blood is my blood is your blood) even before the call came, crackling and electric like the last summer lightning
i already knew.
i remember the names of all your dinosaurs. i changed the rules to all the board games so i would win, and you always let me. people thought we were twins until you finally, finally hit that growth spurt and suddenly i found myself looking up at you instead of down. i used to pin you every time in wrestling and then one day you had me on my back before i could even blink. we never wrestled again. we liked all the same bands for a while, and you bought me tickets to my first concert. we stood in the back, awkward and tense, and even then i knew that one day i would lose you. blood is thicker than water, but hatred is thicker than both. but your blood is my blood. is your blood. is my blood. i can't remember the last words i said to you, but i still remember every word to goodnight moon.