WEDNESDAY: My Brother and I, War


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My Brother and I

My brother and I
were small then
but never so small
we didn’t feel the weight
of caring for the little ones

Becoming horses
on walks by the sea
where beach sand
driven by wind
lashes our legs
where the spray of waves
coats our lips with salt
and when it rains
we play cards indoors
letting them win
to please our mother

But when the sun comes out
we run towards the receding water
gathering the sound of surf
in our wide embrace



For our favourite game
Dutch, German, and Belgian kids
there for a summer holiday
divided a large circle equally
in the vast expanse of wet sand
left by the retreating sea

Then we took turns
declaring war on each other
running back and forth
our voices squealing
like the seagulls overhead
lumps of wet sand
ricocheting off our heels

To get ahead
you threw the ball
at the nearest
always the smallest person
and if you were victorious
you confiscated land
stretching your arm
your finger scraping coarse sand
to redraw the borders

Then the real army came to the beach
and we were ordered to stay
beyond quickly thrown up fences
before they blew up
one of the many bunkers
left over from the war
Chunks of concrete
spat apart
against the blue sky

After that we abandoned our war game
to go spying on couples getting cozy
in the remaining bunkers
Wondering I lay awake at night
Had they made sure
to look inside the bunker
before they blew it up?

  1. Very nice.

  2. Again, some lovely juxtapositions…. In “My Brother and I”, between being grown-up responsible and then getting to be a kid again, and in “War” between the children’s game and the adult occupation. Nicely done. This is such a telling moment: To get ahead/you threw the ball/at the nearest/always the smallest person

  3. Beautifully crafted. Such complete stories in such few words. Nicely done for sure….

  4. A late thank you for your wonderful feedback, bieke

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