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A novel in verse … and the writing thereof
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Andy Takes a Stand

He held the steps like a fortress, legs straddled, eyes keen

               in the brilliant sunshine,

     and if he’d been an old-time father

     checking out his daughter’s suitor, it would have made

               some sense, but he was

     my little brother. Father stood behind, in the shadow of

               the portico. Behind him, framed in the doorway itself,

     hovered my mother. Andy was first.

“So,” he said from the top of the steps, sticking out his hand,

     “This is Linda’s beau. Or should I say, ‘cowbeau’?”

“Not really,” said Cory, shaking the hand. He had to

     stand on the step below to do it, but

     he was grinning. “I do a little punching,

     nothing serious.”

“A little punching, huh?” Andy made a fist.

I’d had enough. “Andy, are you going to block the door

     all day?”

Dad spoke quietly, but we heard him:

“Why don’t you help your sister with

her suitcase, it looks heavy,”

which it wasn’t, bless him, but I was

so angry already

I almost didn’t

let Andy have it when he stooped for it

from the step above. Why couldn’t he take that

one step down, and

say hello? For Dad’s sake,

     and Cory’s, I unclenched my hand and smiled. “Thanks.”

He shrugged, took the case without meeting my eyes, and

     turned, leaving me to follow

     behind. Above me, I could hear greetings,

introductions, Mother’s irritated “Where’s Linda?” and then,

     the door. They’d gone in.

On the portico I paused. How, I wondered,

eyes on my feet, was I going to

     get through dinner, the night,

all the next day?

Another pair of shoes appeared

     near mine, and when I looked up,

there was Dad, waiting for me. He opened his arms, and when I went to him, said,

“Welcome home, Lindy.”

I tucked my arm through his.

“That’s a nice-looking young man

     you got yourself, Daughter.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

“Of course,” and he patted my hand, “his other

     character traits have yet to be ascertained.”

“And how do you plan to go about it, Sir?”

He narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips.

“I have my methods.”

So I entered my home, after all,

     on a wave of laughter.

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