Your sister is screaming and your eardrums are shattered: the moonlight looks in through the bullet holes. It says Hello? It says Is anyone at home? They were looking for you, the firstborn son, but the tiny missiles that pierce your haven do not discriminate, not the way you do, between the red and the blue, between a brother and his sister. And you run into her room, clap your hand over her mouth and throw her on the floor, but itís too late. Itís too late. Theyíre gone and sheís safe, but you didnít get there fast enough. Your parents are running through the house and now your mother is hyperventilating in the corner and your father picks you up from floor. He is a sane man and he is a kind man, but he hits you, hits you hard and will not stop. He drives his fist into you, saying fuckyou fuckyou fuckyou.
You do not stop him.
You have brought this home to your family.
You are a mother, and you offer up your firstborn, and itís not enough. You are a mother, and you offer up your lastborn, and its still not enough.
Which one? Which one do you want?
What more do you want from me?
You are young. You are young and invincible and daring and alive. You are brilliant and beautiful. You have the reflexes of a ninja, a feline sensibility, carnivorous and aware. Your senses are heightened and you are alert.
You always see them coming. They always underestimate you. This is who you are.
You will be punished for what you didnít do, punished for who you yet
The men knock on the front door and it is opened to them. Their pupils are wide and the skin on their foreheads is so taut that their ears pull back. They are listening. They ask your mother questions. She is compliant. After all, who wouldnít be. These men have guns and are sheathed in armor and are Not To Be Fucked With.
They say to you: Where Is Your Brother?
(You are fourteen and you say I donít know.)
You are twenty-one and in the seven years between now and fourteen your cells have all died and have been reborn, and they say to you again Where is your brother?
And you look him in his brown, brown eyes and you say to yourself, I donít know where my brother is.
This is the question for which you need an answer.
Which one should have been a scientist?
And for extra credit, did anyone survive.
Wake up. You must help me with your mattresses, my child. Yes. The top
mattress and the box spring, both. We must line the front walls with our
mattresses. (If you were older, and had seen The Godfather you
would make dark jokes about these mattresses.) But you havenít, you havenít,
you canít and you donít you donít you donít.
And as you drive up the streets at night, you think this is how it must have been for them: my son, her son.
Shhhh. Be vewy vewy quiet. Iím going human hunting.
The catís in the cradle, the cops are in the corn. Your mother is frantic. She is throwing mattresses up the walls and keeping you out of school. She says You are going to Salt Lake City.
Everyone goes to Salt Lake City.
It is the past and your mother is going to Salt Lake City. It is not as all past as that, but your brother is hitchhiking to Salt Lake City. It is sometime in the future, or maybe itís still in the past, depending upon your point of view, and no one knows that you are on a bus, or everyone knows that you are on a plane, going to Salt Lake City. It is The Place To Go. Pioneers go to Salt Lake, with handcarts. Or went, rather. Now you too, and soon, you shall again. She swoops you up and deposits you on a plane and you barely think of it, everything has become normal to you, everything is sane, and write in your diary, ďTonight we had pizza for dinner.Ē
You laugh and you say to your mother, Well. Lookís like youíre three for three.
You hang up the phone. Brian is making ramen. Brian, you say. A Disturbing Piece of Information has found me Through Some Form Of Electronic Communication, and it is a few days late, but, hey. Itís here all the same. You laugh for a while and then you stop. And then you hold your head so your eyes donít fall out. My brother.
My poor, poor brother.
For some reason, they too, are covered with General Tsoís chicken sauce.
She has capsaicin under her fingernails and cannot do it herself.
She says I canít do this anymore. I canít do this all by myself.
It is an afterschool special and there is a soft focus, weeping women. And many, many violins.
Where is your brother?
Showed me a book
An illustrated copy; I was surprised
No causalties of war, no transparent clothing.
Just a few women bathing.
I told him
I donít see
Itís very compelling subject matter.
In the museum.
(I read too much.)
circles within circles
mister hi there!
ďThis here sculpture over here, you might want to look
with all the grace of a carnie barker pointing out said
head and base
(you come here for)
So. And then,
Looking, but not
And that German guy chills
The bride has been
by her bachelors.
(and but heís still looking at meÖ
A moment, please!
We arenít cubists, are we!?!! bastardsÖ with their manifestoesÖ
here, in this now.
(iím trying to get an angle)
ďWell. I guess you can
But I donít know
As I look at the photo
actually of something.
Konstantin thought it
But Hensel said that every man
thought it was a
I laughed and said, ďWhat did you see?Ē
Lo and Behold, my brethren.
Seascape, sorry, and not pink, but red.
A red beachscape encircling, holding
Trees clustered in suggestive places,
How do you like them
Thrown down from heaven.
Her legs are
and She is Ready.
waiting for her