Fortress

You didn't mean to cry
during your speech
at my wedding
last October.
I had not seen you
cry for six years, not since

we were sixteen
and we were powerless
against the pottery fragments and glass remnants of lamps
our fathers created, their works of art
ground into their living room carpets.

I cried alone
several times
while you were in Arizona. You were impossible
to reach.

Your phone was always dead, you never responded
to e-mail. I was five hours from our hometown,
you were always on a plane from somewhere,
and when you came to visit you were quiet,
not the same girl who poured over Harry Potter with me
in the middle of Latin class during the summer
or giggled over our high school crushes during the spring.

The winters down south
were milder than the harshness
of our hometown

but it was the same
as the rest of the year.

When we were eighteen, you finally told me
the secrets you'd suspended inside yourself
for years. That whisper was the first news I'd heard
from you in two years. You moved
back to our hometown after that. When I called
when reality slipped out of my grasp,
your voice: shhh, it's all right,
you'll get out alive
.

I was always the emotional one,
you the fortress.
You didn't mean to cry
during your speech
at my wedding
last October.