We've Loved You for Seventeen Years

A poem for my brother. We've grown apart in recent years and I can't bear the gap. This poem is a testament to those feelings.
Blessed more than most with,
A father, mother, and two sisters.

My father, our dad,
Has bartered the blood from his veins,
To ensure your needs were met;
Worked long hours through the morning,
To the next day's wee hours of the night,
To spare your mother's clocked-in schedule,
So she could dedicate her time to you.
Our dad, your father,
Cried a million tears for you,
Before you were even born,
Hoping to spend with you father-son bonding time,
Give the guidance he'd never ever had.

But 'take' is in your nature,
You were sewn from sacrifice.
Mother's tired back, aching feet,
Retired her entire world to nurture you,
Nursed you from an infancy to baby boy,
Raised a sweet child upon her lap,
Taught you to read and gifted you the tools,
Needed to conquer any craft.
No heart has broken a thousand times,
Ever known such care as your mother gave to you.
And here you are, adolescent little man,
Willing to go to jail for a girl you hardly know;
Can't be bothered for a well-wishing on Mother's day,
Because she dare demand,
You consider the needs of others before any of your own.
My, have you shown her,
Insolent older brother,
Never let your mother marvel at the sight of you.
Your youthful arrogance can't bear,
Offering affection to the only woman in your life,
Who has toiled years for you.
How can you stand refusing to return
Half the love she invested into you?

Your baby sister, tiniest of all,
Admired you in the highest esteem.
Wanted to be at your side,
Demonstrate the little things she'd learned from you,
Impressed you with her jokes,
Showered you with never-ending favors.
This is the very same girl,
You don't say 'thank you' to,
When she surrenders her phone chargers,
And devotes her time to you.
You must be convinced that sisterly affection,
Is a god-given right,
You've told me, you'd protect her,
Should she ever need to fight,
But tell me, brother dear,
What does kindness mean to you?
Care is a two-way street,
From which you've fled, open-armed,
Onto a self-destructive path.
When you complained about her attitude,
Have you considered,
what a mirror that behavior,
is of you?

I can't begin to describe,
How sorry I feel at the thought,
Of the person you are today.
We used to fight when we were young,
But I know,
You must remember me keeping you company,
Playing Grand Theft Auto for hours,
In the basement where we'd sit.
We don't take the time to talk today,
Let alone play.
You still hate to be alone,
So much so, you've sold your soul,
For party nights and fair-weather friends,
That will never see you writhe and cry,
The way you did when you drank so much,
You sobbed for salvation, at two in the morning,
Called our dad, convinced your death was eminent.

I was and still am your secret-keeper: your first line
Of familial defense,
When you need someone to listen to stories of
Endeavors and adventures, you're not eager to share with
Mom and Dad.

Three-months from adulthood,
You are my shortsighted breaking brother.
You have only weeks to grow up,
And carve out a name for yourself.
In a world comprising varying degrees of desperation,
Wielding only rap lyrics and a tenth grade education.
The formula prepares an inviting scene,
For hardships, strife, and bitterness.
You'll know more hurt than I can dream,
But this girl’s too wise to watch passively,
As you slowly kill my dad,
With fights, and crimes, and worry.

Please forgive yourself,
We already have.
But none of us can accept,
The monster you've become.
Published: 7/29/2015
Bouquets and Brickbats