i can learn to live without you

i don't want to. i never wanted to
but people move on and i suppose we did too.
i still wish we had both made more of an effort, because i miss the warmth that would curl in my stomach and how it took the etched lines of stress off your face for even a moment.
this isn't a love poem. it's just mourning for lost family

you were never more than a friend, 

never anything less than family

and being with you was the only time
i ever felt religion as something even vaguely
resembling "welcoming"

with your grandmother's matzo ball soup
and your father's kind smile 

they all knew be my name, 
people i've seen and met before, 
i was "Laura, dear, you should visit more often!"
and i would always distract your aunt for you
so she didn't start quizzing you on your grades again

you would lead me through Hebrew,
my tongue tripping over the words
as i stumbled through the pronunciations

and you never laughed at me, 
not even once. 

darling, i miss you so awfully much. 

you were my first kiss, 
and i was yours - 
your mother wasn't happy 
when she found out, 
but she didn't get mad at me. 

i never knew where to put my coat, 
i remember. 
even after all those years 
(thirteen, it had been thirteen years)
i never knew where to put my coat. 

you had these sweet sisters, 
young and small, 
and i think i was the only person
who ever actually wanted to spend time with them. 

you were around this constantly, 
but i know what it's like to be the youngest, 
so i would sit there for hours and play with them
or listen to how their day went. 

and your mother is one of the strongest people i knew, 
tall and commanding and so kind when she talked to us, 
the sort of person that fills up a room without really meaning to, 
but doesn't hesitate to use it to her advantage

you had beautiful hair and clear brown skin, 
and we would sit for ages on the deck out back, 
with you twisting braids into the strands that fell down my back

after, when we were at my house, 
we would walk behind the bushes of my mother's garden, 
the tall ones that would scratch our knees
but we would pretend we were fearless explorers
and balance our bare feet on smooth rocks

there was a hole in the wood in my fence, 
about eye-height, that we would peer through at each other
i remember the day you moved away
though i still came over constantly
but we no longer had the effortless communication we used to

with you stepping on my feet 
and me soaking you with the hose 
as we laughed in the warm summer afternoons
- we wore each other's clothes a lot

and i don't know what happened to us. 

you were my family, 
and i was yours. 

now we're just. 

but i guess i'll find a way
to live without you, 
fill myself up with
[edit: callname taken out],
Rabbit Shake,
Redhead Hurricane. 

i don't know who you'll use to replace me. 

The End

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