Sundays, my brother returns as a trapezoid of light
inching across the fading rug, showing me again that
windows need cleaning. He returns each time a breeze
brings the unpleasantness of rabbits in a half-shingled
hutch, their timid ears pinned in place. Once, hiking
through scrub oak, he pulled at a stalk of stubborn
cheatgrass which sliced his palm open and his fist
dripped blood all the way home. I ask if he remembers
that or the forts we built of bedsheets. We secured each
corner with volumes on the spider, the mummy, the
solar system, and then used box fans for roof raising.
How long was it, I ask, before the wind was too much?
When did we grow bored? I sometimes forget that my
brother’s bones are now ash and the rest of him a cloud.
The fact is, my only memory of learning to read is
pretending I couldn’t so he would do it for me. A book
of illustrated Bible stories more often than not, its spine
broken, pages missing, each figure on each page nothing
more than hazy pastel. I ask if he remembers that book,
if he knows where it is. He says, How should I know?
I’m not even here.

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