We Siblings Three Attempt to add the hours we have shared: One hundred thousand, maybe thousands more? Our paths conjoined for several years before We struck out on our own and even dared Imagine we would chase our dreams beyond The borders of our joyful, sheltered lives. But now we live with husband and with wives In separate towns and rarely correspond, Or so it seems when measured and compared To neighborhood crusades we daily swore Would never end. But we would soon respond To destiny. What from those days survives? That we still share a special sibling bond Though kept apart by long, infrequent drives. first published in Nine Muses Poetry Examples Made Our lives are like a looking glass Through which our children often see Their futures through the veil of time With more responsibility. From us they gain the will to live: Learn to endure through hardships met, Find that it’s better to forgive And how you can’t escape regret. Our happiness is theirs to share. Our struggles help define them too. Our choices are examples made Of what you should—and shouldn’t—do. We fiercely hope they will succeed, That we have given them our best, And fondness taints their memories Of times before they flew the nest. first published in Westward Quarterly Grief The deepest wells of grief reside next door, Just out of sight and in the back of mind, Abstract enough that most observers find The time to sigh but then do little more. Those most involved can’t simply walk away. Their lives have changed forever from now on— Those who remain defined by who is gone, Those gone defined by who is forced to stay. They greet the ones who come to say goodbye And smile when all they want to do is cry. Their well of anguish never can run dry, Replenished by the next in line to die. When death strikes down a stranger’s soul, they care— But empathy is more than they can bear. first published in Snakeskin Randal A. Burd, Jr. is an educator, freelance editor, writer, and poet. His freelance writing includes assignments on the paid writing team for Ancestry.com and multiple online blogs, newsletters, and publications. Randal received his Master’s Degree in English Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri. He currently works on the site of a residential treatment facility for juveniles in rural Missouri. He lives in southeast Missouri with his wife and two children.