my little brother got a job at a bank last week, my brother - the one who picked his nose in the backseat, colored me pink ladybugs and begged me to please leave puberty and play with him, my brother - the one who spent all day making paper mustaches, recorded himself giving directions on our family GPS, sobbed wide open sobs when he found his baby turtle dead, my brother — the one who came home at 3am age sixteen smelling like booze, ignored me when i said spend more time with our grandparents, slammed doors, screamed at walls till he was hoarse, made our mother stay in the kitchen crying, my brother - the one who slept twelve hours on my couch over fall break, said he dreamed of becoming an urban dancer, called me crying said she told me i was ugly and undeserving of love, my brother - the one who ate everything in my kitchen, left his shit all over my living room floors, empty chip bags on the dining table, made me trip on the way to the bathroom - my one and only little brother: welcome to adulthood. come here. sit down. would you like to hear what happens next?

you see, i’ve seen how boys like you tidy up, watched how boys like you become men, how they put on suits and buy briefcases, and instead of getting fucked up on weekends they sit at cramped coffee shops in ironed dress shirts and PC laptops with two smartphones on the table. i’ve been on the other side of the table, asking them what else is on this table, don’t move in with her just yet, practice loving yourself first, don’t work hard just for his approval, self worth comes from within, can you call our mother more often, can you put your dreams back on the table, would you recognize them now if you walked into a bar and they sat down next to you? would you buy them a drink?

my brother, if after eight months of working nine to five your body starts to ache, then maybe you will realize that you are not immortal. and if your friends disperse like wildflowers and even great love disappoints, then maybe you will understand what home means. home means unconditional, as in, unconditionally here for you, my brother. and i guess what i’m really saying is: who knew we would we grow up this fast. it seemed like yesterday you were picking your nose in the backseat, coloring me pink lady bugs, crying over turtle, when today you’re driving, picking me up from the airport, putting my bedding on your couch, buying me dinner with all the bank you’re about to make at the bank. and i guess what I’m really saying is, congratulations, my brother. we’ve made it back to the beginning, again.

(December 2017)

I’m an artist and writer
in search of beauty and truth.

HomesickKening Zhu