twenty-two and therefore believes he’s
He’s home from school,
he’s supposed to look after our mother for
She’s senile and probably dying.
He’s cruel but his cruelty’s probably
He’s dressed her in a T-shirt that says
I kill everything I fuck // I fuck
everything I kill.
She stares into a bowl of cornflake milk;
I carefully cover my breakfast in ketchup.
My brother is funny and blunt.
Whenever I say something sentimental,
or talk—for example—about the ocean,
he says, You know what?
You should write a poem about that.
(Right now I imagine we’re all feeling
like it’s winter and we’re alone
in a splintering cabin on a crumbling cliff
with the ocean below hurling itself at the
like a child against a locked bedroom door,
but of course I don’t say this out loud.)
It’s early spring; too cold to open windows.
We do it anyway. The air is ice and mud.
When we shiver our mother
lifts her head and says, I’ll warm you up.
It’s the first time she’s talked in three
She says that as a child
she walked through a meadow for hours,
following the smell of smoke—
parting tall grass as someone
might part a beaded curtain—until she found
an empty house
burning unattended in the dark.
Peters hopes that they never try
to undo marriage equality.
On: July 1, 2013 Permanent