My brother leans in on the window and breathes
three-year-old hope spilling onto the pane like milk.
He draws a circle in the condensation, then the circle smiles
and so does he, satisfied and proud as only he could be.
That Christmas I burned my hand
on a crayon fallen too close to the heating vent.
The molten wax just clung to my fingers like new blue skin.
I cried, staring stricken at the mottled texture,
frenetically waving my hand but unable to release the retained heat.
The cold on the window saved me,
when I pressed my hand up close until the blue flaked off like a scab,
like the ice the trees shed after the storm, sloughed off like their own personal burdens.
I pressed my face against it too, like I was touching another world
and watched the taillights move away like time
Into the breeze, still crusty from the ocean two miles off
where he skipped through the tourist traffic behind his bigger brother.
His face flushed when it hit him, like a baseball to the chest,
a layer of dreadful red beneath the sunburned pink.
He hesitated like a startled rabbit, and thump!
it hit him again with the second pass.
We both yelp like puppies with stepped-upon tails,
shaking as he limped back stiff-limbed and terrified,
drunk off the fear that spilled onto the sidewalk in grayish-pink vomit.