I envied you your furnace, and the rich
Opulence of your accouterments;
Those patterned ruby Orientals which
You felt beneath your feet, though there were rents
That even then had strained, begun to fray.
We knew your mother ruled the ship, so when
Your sister grew reclusive, somewhat fey,
Escaping, you played games or read. The den
Deep in your basement was, for you, a place
Where you might hide from all you didn’t know,
But sensed. And as for me, I learned to face
The icy rutted way that I must go.
A certain unrelenting cold disdain
I didn’t understand, my father gave
To me in lieu of love, a cold refrain,
Repetitive, taught me to search out, save
The slightest trace of warmth. I treasured you,
My friend within a frozen landscape where
Affection had been meted to the few
Who’d learned to wear the mask, the hardened stare.