The Hidden Word

My brother and I are submerged.

We have dived into the depths of novels

and lie low, there between the lines.

Daring only to emerge,

briefly,

at one novel’s end

before burrowing into the next.

Stories shield us

from our own sad realities.

Words massage our jagged emotions,

allowing us to be immersed

in the sorrows of others’ lives

rather than face the fissures and fractures of our own.

The flotsam of our sister’s life

bobs around us in the becalmed seas

following the storm which was her death.

Disjointed memories

swim to the mind’s surface

Debris of our sibling lives

treasured relics amid our grief

Yet, only so much can we ignore or relinquish,

for when we read,

hidden between the covers,

with no hint in the blurb,

emerge characters perversely dying of their own cancers.

Their trauma is ours too.

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