Tuesday, April 30, 2013

7000 Ways to Listen

--for my brother

"If I dare to hear you
I will feel you like the sun
And grow in your direction."
--Mark Nepo

1. We listen with the sound off. It's Saturday morning, Scooby Doo's wiggly eyes are wiggling, Shaggy's scared, his long legs running from ghosts. And aren't we always running from ghosts, our father cracking open the bottle before noon while we bounce on the couch, run our mouths, making up new stories for all the inevitable endings we refuse.

517. I'm pushing my little brother on the swings, though he takes to pumping so quickly he doesn't need me, flying higher than I will ever dare, and then letting go and flying some more, landing far from me on the sand. Years later, I'll take his lead, in the sands of Joshua Tree. He'll be up early, working the campsite stove, boiling water and steeping us coffee before working the ropes, inching me up, with his gentle voice, a rock face.

2893. He was always so Zen to my fits. In high school, I'm running down our long hallway, pounding my door shut, screaming at my father stupid truths, my hormones don't know where else to go, scrawling dumb words in locked diaries that my mom jimmies open with her sewing needles. My brother sits--really disappears--on top of his closet. My parents look for him for hours. He's a master of silence.

6952. Thank God for time. I wind the hills just below Yosemite, up to my brother's house. There's storm clouds gathering over the Park, but still we tie the rubber raft to his van's top and drive to the river. Park Service has closed their boat rental office because of the storm that never comes, so one glorious spring Sunday, my brother and I launch his raft, not another vessel in sight, float through Yosemite Valley.  He points out tiny bodies--small as ants--climbing El Capitan's face, points to the tiny crevices he has made his bed. We talk books and love. It's nearly unbearable. All this light. 

1 comment:

  1. You capture the essence of relationship and the passage of time in such an essential way here.