Being the Big Sister

Lately, like all adolescent boys

He seems to have outgrown himself–

All sharp angles and hard lines,

Knobbly joints and overlarge feet.

We look alike, with our round green eyes

And smiles that tug up one corner

Of our mouths further than the other

And unruly, tumbleweed umber hair.

He's taller than I am now, and is wont to

Snatch things away, hold them just out of reach,

Grinning patronizingly while I grope in vain.

But I'll always remember him as the baby:

Helping him kick off snow-caked boots

After an exhilarating battle with neighbor kids

In the birch-peeling grey shade of the backyard

Covered in a thick mantle of downy crystals,

My palms pressed flush against his back

To launch his swing into the yawning blue sky,

The summer sun filtering through leaves above

While we constructed empires of sand for ants,

Watching him rake a hand through his hair

Exasperatedly while I jotted down steps to solve

Worksheets of jagged, bewildering equations,

(Our penmanship is identical: bold and loopy).

Nowadays, we alternate as teacher and student

He patiently places my fumbling fingers

To strum an awkward chord on the guitar

Or recommends films I'm too chicken to see

Of course, we quarrel and slam doors

But there's an inherent bond in siblinghood, and

No matter how we heap on the dirt of bickering

Or snide remarks, we never fully bury it

Today, I am student, roommate, writer

These ephemeral titles fail to embody Me

But Big Sister is a label fastened to my heart