4. Ensign Not-Quite-My-Brother


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.