Brotherly Love

By Erin Brannigan

He comes

with his vast universe of need

in a rusted van

leaking oil, spewing exhaust

his hair and beard sprouted,

grown, and gone to seed

I ache with caring

gape with pity

while he’s still safely distant

and yearn to open all I have

all I am

to him

my brother

Then I hear that engine

coughing, missing


in front of my house

my space

and my heart snaps shut

shrivels and withdraws

He wants all that I can give

I offer him a slice of cake

a glass of milk

and pray that will suffice

The guarded hug

grows genuine

once I know he’s on his way

“Don’t leave so soon,” I say

but I hover near the door

listen for the sputter and start of the

blue van engine

and breathe again when he is gone.

About Erin Brannigan

Erin Brannigan was born and raised in the western United States. After her mission, she married her high school sweetheart and finished up her degree at BYU. Erin currently lives in Utah with her husband, growing family, and three cats all named “Hey You.” In her spare time, she loves to play with words, her kids, and bubble wrap.

Leave a Comment