My brother won’t eat the Costco strawberries,
twenty giant strawberries in a carton the length
of a twelve-pack. He sips his Coke and shakes
his curly head. Not cool, he says. I’ve seen
apples smaller than those berries. We watch the storm
together, at Mom’s new place, watch as it turns from
bluster to bite like a violent drunk slowly
waking up. We lean against the couch
and look out onto the deck. Mud sloshes
down the flowerpots. And then a hearty sheet
of water falls against the glass and we can see
nothing but colors blurred together. It is how
I imagine an impressionist depicting Spring but I
am no art major. Museum junky, yes. This morning
I studied every Mondrian on the wall while my brother,
inspired by the abstraction, scribbled plans
for a carbon-neutral house party. I wouldn’t be invited,
he informed me. I lived too far away. Win some,
lose some, he said as if he owned composure,
and I let him. He is a brother for whom things
haven’t come easily. I gamely chomp a strawberry.
The white part: too tough. The rest, though, tangy-
sweet. My brother rolls disgusted eyes.
Things disgust him now that didn’t use to,
but he watches storms with me again. He stopped
when he was four, me six, and the wind bent
a sapling’s spine until it snapped in two
like a wishbone. We clapped, shrieked, ran for our parents,
stunned at the audacity shown by our reliable world:
the earth had kept the larger part, but barely.


Jessica Love is a doctoral student in psychology at the Ohio State University, where she studies text processing and memory. Her poem in this issue is her first creative publication.