“Stretch” by Sandra White

I hold the moon like a baby in my arms.

If I let it go, it will fall. The light of the night will die.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see my brother smile at me.

“Can I hold it too?” he asks, nudging my shoulder.

I stare at the moon for a moment. It’s hard to give up. My fingers fit in its craters.

He nudges my shoulder again. I hand him the moon.

He doesn’t hold it right. He treats it like a ball. It’s more fragile than that. It’s more than a toy.

It’s beautiful.

He looks at me, lets go of the moon, and rests his hand on my shoulder.

“Are you alright?” he asks.

I look over to him.

I’m tired. The bags under my eyes are darker than nighttime.

I want to tell him I’m fine, but I don’t want to lie to him.

My brother points behind me.

“Sit over there.”

I look to where he is pointing and see a pine tree with a small, split branch poking out of one side.

I do what my brother asks.

I sit on a bed of dead pine needles. My brother has me rest my head just below the branch. It strains my neck and hurts my head.

My brother looks down at me and I look up at him.

He raises his arm, bends his elbow, and sets the side of his hand against his chest.

“Like this,” he says.

I nod and do the same. I speak for the first time in two hours.

“Like this?”

“Yes, now close your eyes,” he says.

I close my eyes.

I hear my brother step closer to me.

“Now move your head down, right against your neck. Don’t strain yourself. Don’t stretch. Just rest,” he says.

I try. This is dumb.

“Just relax,” my brother says.

He’s dumb. My brother’s dumb.

I’m dumb.

“It’s okay. You have to breathe. Don’t open your eyes. Just do your best. No contests. Just breathing,” he says.

I hate this. He tells me to do so much. I can breathe whenever I want. I can do this without his help.

I curl up a bit. I don’t have to do this.

I curl up some more.

“Alright,” he says.

He puts his arms around me. He holds me tight against him.

I hate this. I hate this. Stupid.

“Open your eyes.”

I don’t want to.

“It’s fine. We’ll try again later,” he says, holding me tighter.

I open my eyes just a bit to stare at the moon behind my brother’s face.

It’s dimmer.

Sandra White is a writer in Upstate New York. Her literary efforts began when she was a teenager doing her best Pink Floyd impression. Her poems are based on personal experiences and obscure observations of everyday living. She once found a decaying coydog skull in the woods, which she cleaned and kept in a bag in her room over the summer before her mom threw it away. Follow her online at https://twitter.com/SpiritStarry and https://gumroad.com/spiritstar

Image Credit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.