Third in line

After my parents.

After their responsibility, love, and care.

Being the oldest of the siblings

Is like being the younger one’s

Back-up parent.

Especially when times get tough.

Thoughts drizzled my brain

Just like the drops of water.


The water rushed

Out of the tap,

Onto the soap-covered plates.

I helped my mother.


The water rinsed off

The soap and filthiness of the dishes.

“Why is it always

The women

That end up doing the dishes?”

Her voice echoed,

Bounced off the water

Into the pipes where the water disappeared.


That’s not

The question on my mind.

She never asks why

I help.



Together we hung wet clothes

That were in a basket.

Piled on top of each other

they were.


The humid smell of the clothes,

Thick – almost – as if you could drown in air.

“Why is it always


That end up hanging the clothes?”



We are at home


Just me and my brothers;

Parents both at a meeting.


Curtains are down.

The world outside

Was inky black – starless.

Too dark to let any light escape.

A world that was shut off.


We were inside the house,

Almost ready to go to sleep.

A subtle yawn from my brother

Told us it was time to rest our eyes.


The minutes swept by

As I tucked my youngest

Brother in.

Words of castles, magic, and fairy tales slipped off

My dry, sore lips.

Twenty minutes have passed

But he just doesn’t seem to fall

Into a dream.

Ten minutes ticked by.


I left his room assuming he was sound asleep.

I stretched and yawned

Until my eyelids felt heavy.


As I got in bed

Ready to lay down and pass out,

I hear a hushed voice,

The words so faint they seemed to be

hanging in the air from silk strands.

“I’m afraid.”


Tears crawled down his cheeks

As we cuddled for a few moments.

“It’s ok. They’ll be home soon.

Why don’t we go to sleep.”

And with those words

He fell asleep with still

The traces of his tears on his cheeks

That I then wiped off gently.


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