By Carrie Lee
What I’m struggling with most of all
Is finding balance
Between truth and kindness
My brother is making an art gallery on the walls
Carving his sixteen year old emotions into sculptures
His hands are his tools
Making it his own.
My mother sighed
It’s just a phase
She wanted to take it down
Before he made any more
Cover it up with a piece of bread
I said no
Took her hand
Isn’t it beautiful?
We should frame it.
She looked at me
With something between love and sadness
Because don’t the things we love
Make us sad sometimes?
So I took a wooden frame,
And there we had it,
A gallery on the walls.
And he locked himself in his room
Working on his creations,
He didn’t speak a word to us for days
And the dinner we left outside his door
Day and night
I could hear him chipping away
Each gentle brush stroke of the fingers
Bringing new form to life
Turning his canvas into living holes,
Something into nothing,
Nothing into something.
Sometimes when he wasn’t looking
I’d sneak in to look at the holes
Holes of different sizes and shapes
Some so rough his tools snapped –
He left their skeletons on the floor.
I put my hand into the holes
Feeling for stardust
Or a bird’s nest
But they were just empty,
I left a gumnut inside one,
I wanted to crawl in and hide in another.
I left a letter written to my future self:
Are you happy?
We invited people to come and see the gallery,
First friends and family,
They said it was very nice,
Then friends of friends,
Lining up to peek inside our home.
Some said they were spectacular,
Others said it was just nothing,
I said no, they were definitely something.
But only we knew how my brother
Poured his heart and soul into those holes,
It was like his heart didn’t have enough space
To hold it inside,
So he kept making holes
And we let him make holes
Until all the walls had holes in them
And the whole house was one long tapestry of holes,
Bent at the corners to make walls.
I felt like the walls were alive
And all the holes were open wounds,
Bleeding little trickles of paint at the edges,
I wanted to touch the walls gently
That everything was going to be okay.
The walls would believe me
Because I knew how it felt,
We all knew how it felt.
Dry, cracked paint,
Dripping to the floor paint,
Puddles of paint,
Like the holes themselves were crying.
Puddles of tears
That wouldn’t stop,
Room to room, we wore rainboots,
I mopped up the puddles
And I kept the curtains open
So that every morning when the sun rose
Light poured into the room
Turning all the little holes into glowing orbs,
Sweet little suns.