Inside Out Encore


Inside Out Encore

Brother assumed his usual posture at the breakfast table
Predictably exposed beneath that trademark sticky bathrobe,
He slyly waited for me to notice the reemergence
Of his prized possession.
I won’t; I can’t.
Tears that long ago ceased to liquefy,
Struggled to grab hold.
The familiar urge to flee
Flickered on and off in my calves,
But quickly succumbed to silent torture,
With the realization
That once fruitful avenues
Had become endless detours.

“Listen easy, you can hear God calling.”
I looked Inside and saw Savior standing,
Waiting for me in the doorway.
“Child, touch my soul with your cries,”
He continued, holding out familiar arms,
Beckoning with a knowing sorrow.
I breathed an exhausted sigh,
Then sank into the warmth of his enduring embrace.
I had known Savior for a short time
But it seemed like forever.
His quiet, gentle presence filled me
With waves of hope,
Caring and strength.
While his melodic words let me know
How deeply he understood my pain.

Outside, Brother Snake slithered
With vacantly troubled eyes,
Seeking customary means to satisfy
His narcissistic hunger.
Our family home was his stage,
Sister the reluctant, accommodating player.
In his stiffening presence, mine hardened
Into a perpetual mass of hollow numbness.

Mother often reminded
Of how nicely Brother took care of Sister.
Leaving instructions to love him
Because he is Brother.
I could never tell her.
It was obvious
That I was the naughty one.

Brother hated everything about Savior.
His resentful bitter laughter echoed cynicism
Whenever Savior’s tuneful expressions seeped Outside.
The time I spent away from Snake’s demands
Evoked spits of disdain.

When Brother relayed this diatribe
Attempting to garner sympathy from family Psychiatrist,
I yearned to counter with my own venom.
Contempt for a childhood left ransacked,
Its crumbled soul withering
At Brothers salacious feet.
Then I remembered that he was Brother
And that I loved him.

“Hello my friend, hello,”
Savior greeted once again inside the doorway.
His dark eyes gazed easily beyond my Wall.
“I’ve been misunderstood for all of my life,”
He whispered assuredly,
“They never get tired of putting me down.”
Reading between my lines with perfection.

Powdered tears of grateful recognition
Gushed heartily down Savior’s crisp white shirt.
My face remained embedded there safely
Until I was ready to step back Outside.

In adulthood,
I habitually take in nourishing Outside air.
Brother no longer plays me,
Yet my instrument will be forever out of tune.

Savior frequently reaches Inside
To squeeze my thawing hand.
He will be forever the cornerstone
Of my survival.
I see him often from afar
But he is unaware.
I am always astonished
At how many others are there
Alongside me.

He is with us tonight.

“Ladies and gentlemen,”
The loud speaker startles the anticipation in the room.
“It is my pleasure to introduce Mr. Neil Diamond.”

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