It smells like birthday candles in my living room,
Burnt wax and a single stream of rising smoke.
My youngest son has blown out the small flame dedicated
To our ancestors, a request for blessings and an expression of gratitude,
His little voice murmured wishes and sweet incantations,
I overhead I wish you were still here and
Something about his new comic book he is creating.
My heart was flooded of course, he couldn’t
Reach the candle even on his tippy toes,
So I had to push it closer to him,
His little breath only making the flame dance
Until it was under his chin.
He blew with force and authority and I wondered
A little what he’d be like as a man
Even now while he is still mine as a little boy.
On this day my youngest brother has been dead the same amount
Of time he had been alive.
A weird and wired realization that tangles and tickles
And drops me off here,
A little more than stumped.
He has influenced much of my life, in some form or another,
The times I had with him and the times without,
Which are now tipping in the positive.
I am an adult now, a mother, although I was a mother
Of sorts to him too.
But now, a real mother, a mother of choosing,
A bearing and choice of a different weight.
The weight of my brother has been costly.
As I am exploring these verses my son
Informs me that he has to poop,
And as he rushes to the bathroom he tells me
That he can wipe his butt all by himself.
That is the end of this poem,
Life does go on, whether I have always seen it or not,
It doesn’t quite wait for the grief to blow over,
It just entangles me in the rush and pulse
Of all that keeps going,
As violent as it is beautiful.