Pretend

BY SHREYA THATAI, ’17

(AP) – A 16-year old boy from Florida accidently shot his 12-year old brother, instantly killing him.

When you asked to play Cowboys and Indians,
I pushed you away. Too old. Too mature to
Pretend with guns. I don’t play pretend anymore.
Not since I turned 16 and grew up.
You’re 12. We don’t relate.
You ask me why I don’t remember the nights we spent playing
In that green tent or chasing mum around the house
With swords. I do remember. It aches.
But I am too old, too grown up to think of those times.
If we are going to play with these guns, lets not make it
Pretend.
I don’t pretend anymore.

But brother, I swam in your rivers of red and got lost
In visions of endless universes. Now I pretend.
I pretend everything.

One slight misstep or pause to breathe
And maybe, I wouldn’t have to pretend. I could still
Stand to look in the mirror.
I could pretend that I can’t hear the screams coming from the shed.
I could pretend that the screams are not my own.

But brother, I swam in your rivers of red and got lost
In endless universes. And I wonder, why someone told me
That to be strong,
I could not pretend anymore.

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