League of Sensitive Souls
Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Surely I am not only one of a few members.
There must be so many more of us?
We from birth sensed our elder siblings' house rules.
Never show emotion, do not ask for protection.
Always respect our distance of aloof superiority,
Lest you become the member your family does without.
My loyalty is legendary
My stubborn adherence to belief in the myth of belonging
To the group who shares my avuncular DNA.
The proactive rejection you condone as normality,
Perversely manifests what flesh and blood eschew.
I dutifully ignored it for so long,
Excusing it as a clear misunderstanding,
Which went carefully unacknowledged.
I never called it what it is;
You modeled that well for your little sister.
Sibling conflicts, though constant,
Compete for equal acreage with me amid the dust
Hiding obediently beneath your family room rug.
I did not want the rivalry.
You revel in it as invisible armor.
The Anthony throwback explains,
Family gatherings are not
Opportunities for tender reconnections,
But business meetings where the clock is closely watched
Until older siblings can recoil into absence.
If they should momentarily pause,
To reconsider a rapprochement,
A fleeting slip into unguarded humanity,
There will surely be an in-law spouse
Pounding the gavel for a recess.
The spouse joined this dysfunctional club
To perpetuate the alienation of those
She is so sure are her competitors,
Vying for the control of your heart.
She needn't have worried.
Perhaps sixty years is enough.
Too little, but not too late.
Sufficient to telegraph to stone deaf me
This new epiphany
Which my sister next door always knew.
I cannot resurrect what was never there.
Bonds forged through fraternal ties
And brotherly commitment,
You never showed either for me,
Yet, I continued to seek them.
I am the slow learner who now accepts your disdain.
Your casual cruelness and contempt,
Gaslighting, verbal abuse, and neglect.
I am not the person you parried
With your knee-jerk, petty putdowns of a six-year-old.
Your conduct shows the emptiness
Your souls prefer to inhabit.
You taught me to fear
My own nature by calling it weakness. I announce my induction into an alternative space.
It refuses to shrink sentiment through bullying.
The girl who sought your love and acceptance
Had no say in her cosmic assignment to be your sister.
I may have been the cat you loved to kick,
So you could justify your own lack of feeling.
But even loyal siblings have their limits.
I hereby succumb to my boycott
Of the Old Boys Club
First chartered on the Isle of Hope
Which prefers that I were never a member.
I did the work to find the guild
Which loyally held a spot for me.
Welcoming me in without asking
For your pernicious password
Dictating my silence.
My unforgivable sin of transparency
Is a common trait among the wise.
I am learning to embrace my place among them,
Within the league of sensitive souls,
Born into the wrong family.