My brother was birthed a soft whistle

Although Twin is older by almost an hour—
of course the birth got complicated when it was my turn—
he doesn’t act older. He is years softer than I will ever be.

When we were little, I would come home
with bleeding knuckles and Mami would gasp
and shake me: “¡Muchacha, siempre peleando!
Why can’t you be a lady? Or like your brother?
He never fights. This is not God’s way.”

And Twin’s eyes would meet mine
across the room. I never told her
he didn’t fight because my hands
became fists for him. My hands learned
how to bleed when other kids
tried to make him into a wound.

My brother was birthed a soft whistle:
quiet, barely stirring the air, a gentle sound.
But I was born all the hurricane he needed
to lift—and drop—those that hurt him to the ground.

~ Elizabeth Acevedo, “More about Twin” in The Poet X (HarperTeen, March 6, 2018)

The Poet X, highly recommended.



  • Elizabeth Acevedo is a Dominican-American poet and author.  Her critically-acclaimed debut novel and NY Times Bestseller, The Poet X, won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
  • Portrait of Elizabeth Acevedo via


  1. She has a way with words…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG, what a hurricane of a writer. She sure paints not with a brush but with clouds, fire and compassion.

    Another keeper (in my mind). Thanks for sharing her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • She sure is. Here’s another:

      I once watched my father peel an orange
      without once removing the knife from the fruit.
      He just turned and turned and turned it like a globe
      being skinned. The orange peel becoming a curl,
      the inside exposed and bleeding. How easily he separated
      everything that protected the fruit and then passed the bowl
      to my mother, dropping that skin to the floor
      while the inside burst between her teeth.

      ~ Elizabeth Acevedo, “Things You Think While You’re Kneeling on Rice That Have Nothing to Do with Repentance:” in The Poet X (HarperTeen, March 6, 2018)

      Liked by 3 people

  3. mighty powerful writer and I know you are fighting for your own brother right now –

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fighting for your brother is a life long job. Love this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a cracking poem! I’ve just ordered the book! Sounds too good to miss!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this morning blessing of words soft as the snow falling outside my window. They hit me as clear as a fist punching into the air on a cry of, “He’s not heavy. He’s my brother.”

    She just rendered my heart soft and you and your brother are in my thoughts.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My kids were like this. My daughter defended her younger brother who was mild even though he got mad at times. They weren’t twins, but only 14 months apart in age.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My sister’s twins are girl and boy and Kellie to this day defends her “little” brother Shane, though they are 26 years old…Plus, he’s on the spectrum so she is fierce to his gentle.
    Thank you for sharing this fabulous poet. I think I needs must add her to my bookshelf – not the kindle version.
    We find the words to help us deal with our real life, don’t we? Hugs to you and Brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I just clicked on the link to Poet X and before I knew it, I had read 35 pages!

    Liked by 1 person

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