Kaarina Dillabough CC
My brother was kind to me when he didn’t have to be. I remember playing video games on our Nintendo 64 in dad’s basement, Diddy Kong Racing and Golden Eye, and my brother let me pick my character first. It didn’t matter what character I was because I always lost, but that’s beside the point. I liked the new worlds we entered, the grainy 3-D graphics and perpetual sunshine. I liked the serious clicking noises we made with our blue and red controllers, and I liked how sometimes we’d stand on the couch and scream and cuss at the screen instead of each other. Most of all, I liked knowing I was somebody’s sister in whatever world I found myself in. Now I’m hundreds of miles away from my brother, and I think of him kindly this morning. Whatever he faces today, I want him to win.
When I turned thirty I started telling everyone to be careful: kids in sandals and tank tops riding scooters in front of my house without helmets, grocery store clerks climbing ladders to restock the top shelves with soup cans and cereal boxes, drivers who pass me on the country highways going twenty over in their lifted pickups. But I’ve got it backwards. Be full of care, I should say. Step slowly and methodically from one moment to the next like a teenager trying to sneak in after curfew. Know where the dangers are, the squeaky floorboards and motion lights, the dog sleeping on the cool kitchen tile who will bark if she’s startled. Treat this life like a gift. But all of this is too much to say in these moments when an accident or misstep could occur. So I say be careful, over and over, like an inadequate prayer that I can’t seem to forget, that I rely on even after it’s failed me.
Janelle Cordero is an interdisciplinary artist and educator living in the seventh most hipster city in the U.S. Her writing has been published in dozens of literary journals, including Harpur Palate, Hobart and The Louisville Review, while her paintings have been featured in venues throughout the Pacific Northwest. Janelle is the author of four books of poetry: Impossible Years (V.A. Press, 2022), Many Types of Wildflowers (V.A. Press, 2020), Woke to Birds (V.A. Press, 2019) and Two Cups of Tomatoes (P.W.P. Press, 2015). Stay connected with Janelle's work at www.janellecordero.com.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.