We drove home late from the concert–
brother and sister
–into a dark quiet rippled only by streetlights
and our excited talk.
Half-past midnight, you strongly contended
one of the songs was a cry to God,
but I felt you’d overthought the lyrics.
To me, the words
referred to nothing
more than a girlfriend
–both of us fixating,
I realize now,
on whatever ideas
felt furthest away at the time.
We were on one of our walks, Alex
you and me.
I was 19 and you were 7
and neither of us quite belonged.
You were my foster brother and the full adoption
wouldn’t happen until September.
I was schoolless
for the first time in thirteen years,
biding my time till August
when I could be a freshman again,
and grades would start telling me
how life was going.
Both of us in the place
between belonging and not.
Just moving in opposite directions.
But we were on our walk
and you asked me
with your now-trademark directness
why I had to leave.
And before I could answer,
an explanation of your own:
“Because only Charlie Brown don’t grow old?”