Brother and brother walk arm in arm,
trudging through mud
with the bigger boy pulling his smaller self
towards his body
to steady him in the thick, gummy soil.
They clear the dirt and burst into the field
unlinking their arms
as they sprint for home along a beaten path
still side by side
until they hit the entrance to their mother’s home.
Curled under her arms for a bedtime story
from the sofa
they listen in awe to the tale of a talking rabbit
with a funny voice
who makes them giggle all the way to bed.
Ten years later they wave goodbye as they exit
that same door
With bulging rucksacks on their backs
which they pack
into the boot of a small blue car they both owned.
Their journey through the world brings them
right back home
alongside two brides who squeeze into their lives
now time is split
between brotherhood and a life apart with others.
So small boy is best man for his older brother
and vice versa
with both committing to monthly pints together
to not discuss wives
but to watch a game still side by side at a bar.
The centre of their childhood world then dies
their brown-haired mother
but they take comfort in their shared grief
the only two people
who knew her unbounded love and warmth.
Life continues at an altered pace
under broken hearts
which beat together like they always have
from within two chests
that embodied the souls of two boys yet to rest.
As the years pass faster the older they grow
small boy gets sick
big brother pulls him close again but all love
to stave off the death that takes us all.
Standing over the hole that is six feet deep
the soil evokes the mud
from when brother and brother ran arm in arm
through grassy fields
Now a single man stands living
hands by his side
since the world ends only for the self.