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Letter  photo

Anything I speak, I know to speak a second time: My brother 
is dying.
 My brother is dying. You are not my sister 

tearing through an Italian restaurant, blistering
with what I have given her no choice but to know. 

Nor are you my father, head sheathed in his own hands, 
human obit for a home where children never start reaching for knives

to turn upon themselves. Thirty years ago, my parents met in this red
-checkered restaurant where mounted televisions tremble 

with love stories birthed before them. Today, Harold plucks a banjo
that is no longer Maude over the cliff-fallen carcass of a hearse 

that is no longer Maude. Today, my brother lies stretchered downtown
like a trampled scarab. His stomach petaled and sagging with excess

diazepam. My father pretends I can keep his secrets: I’ve tried 
too hard
What other possible ending. You are pale and punched ripe 

with holes, pastiche of my childhood walls, so I pack you 
mute with plaster. I should tell you—last winter 

I invited death piously inside of me. Brother, I confess: 
when you stood at the top of the stairs and told me you wanted to die, 

I felt the sting of theft. 


image: Sérgio Rola