The Visiting House (To My Little Self and My Little Brother)

Mar 1, 2024 | 2024 Spring - Letters to Myself, Poetry

By Maggie Young

I love you with syrup in your hair
and gum on the bottoms of your shoes.
Don’t forget how it felt,
hard plastic shoes on the cold hard linoleum.
Three steps to your parent’s bedroom, two seconds to your brother’s door.
There’s a swing set out back and light in your brother’s eyes,
enlarged by thick-rimmed glasses he got at only eight months old.
He wears contacts now, and the click of my heels on the floor makes my stomach twist.
With guilt?
With grief?
Is it still “mourning” if he’s only 67 miles away?
I’m home in the visiting house and I’m here, I say.
I’m here and I’m here and now I’m screaming
You are the one who taught him how to ride a bike.
It sinks in how much time he spends alone now.
He lurks in corners and drifts in and out of rooms at parties.
You are the one who taught him how to whisper.
I hug him goodbye and for the first time he feels heavy.
I need you to understand
just because he grew up doesn’t mean you failed.
I love you with skinned knees and sparkly headbands and bitten-off nails. I love you from 67 miles away.

Maggie is a 21-year-old senior psychology and studio art student at the College of Wooster. She is from Pataskala, Ohio, and discovered BWQ through the Creating Change Conference.


Related Articles

Changing Profiles

by Grace Hedin Grace, 24 They/Them. Interested in petting cats and watching Pride and Prejudice on repeat. Inside boy, big grandma energy, my hair is always frizzy. Can I tell you a secret? I hate hiking. The idea of walking up a mountain and tripping over tree...

read more