A black-and-white pencil sketch of a calm, lonely window. Outside dark clouds gather; inside, a toy soldier sits on the floor by a bench in front of the window.

My sister’s sister
had a brother
who served in the war.
And while I sat in school
and played with toy cars
he huddled with the men in the trenches
who were told to fight bravely
and live strongly
and otherwise be nothing like me
except for occasional tears
and thoughts of mother.

I guess then that we’ll never know
if he fought bravely enough.
The triangular fold of the flag
and the black-and-white photograph
of Ensign Not Quite My Brother
sit patiently in his room
and so do I when the house is empty.

In my soul it is always just about to rain.