Every body that hits the ground in Hell
will get up should they choose it.
There’s plenty of death and destruction
but no dead. All ends are artificial,
wishful thinking, and even running,
even seeing their soft resolve lie
face down, you feel sorry for them.
Some bodies are so far decided, and in
some areas their lying so dense. You try
your best not to step on them, but when
you do, most times they don’t bother
to make a sound. They mimic
what they remember of the dead things
from when they lived. In the crowds
of the bodies still making their way,
I’ve found myself running over
the planks the lying make, stepping
on the backs of their charcoaled heads,
their heads inducing a misstep
as they sink, as I further bury
their faces. It’s the stress of the flames
behind us that causes this, that encourages
our rapid, collective pacing. It’s easy
to fall. One falling becomes many
and many makes a felled section,
but soon enough the disturbed tide
of running finds a balance,
and those of us who have gone under
it seems for hours are forced to be
the fodder of those whose timing is better.
I remember watching TV upstairs.
Upstairs, the entertainment center
held easily the biggest TV in the house,
only with the weight distributed as it was
with the TV inside, it was even easier
for everything to tumble over.
My brother half watched while he browsed
at the computer. My feet rested
on the lower half of the center,
not realizing its rocking as I pushed.
I’ll admit I understood badly what it meant
to be mad at a person. I thought once
it happened, they withdrew from you.
You could no longer count on them,
and to make things even or protect yourself,
you’d also withdraw your protection.
My father taught me that. I remember
learning the lesson from my brother,
but also the day he complicated it.
The TV stand began to tip over.
Having realized right away,
I might’ve been able to escape,
but I merely fell back and waited
to be crushed. My brother, with one arm,
pushed it back. I remember thinking,
why would you do that? Had you been
waiting for something bad to happen to me,
this was your chance. It would’ve made me
sad, but I would’ve given it to you.
Years back, when we were both tiny,
the same thing happened to him,
only no one was there to save him.
I can’t remember if I watched it happen,
but I’d seen its aftermath, my brother
flailing under the weight of the thing,
and crying. I don’t believe I would’ve
been strong enough to stop it,
but I don’t trust the memory, or myself
inside of it, to know I would have
had I been, and I thank God for that.
I only need to atone for the present.
If the only world is a Hell with my brother
in it, being with him will make a new one.