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Friday, April 13, 2018

The Ritual

When my brother died I wasn’t yet a body. When I entered,
the orderlies wrapped me in the traditional red velvet frills,
a woman said my name until I could say my name. We called each other
mother until I learned she was Mom and I was Natali-a, Natali-a.
In the event that I woke up, my brother shifted to become my
walls. I slept in his bed. I stepped on his shaggy brown carpet. I drew
a heart directly onto the dresser to mark his place. The photographer
lined us in a row like coke cans. My two living brothers between me,
a shark toy in the gap of my teeth. The photographer propositioned
my father in the next room. My gums fondled the plasticine, a thrill
to feel with a surface beneath my teeth. The chorus teacher came
and fed us lyrics to a song we would sing. We would sing it
lit against the great tree hanging his name and other names for death,
Daniel a bauble, his body a bauble, his life a bauble I wanted
to jam between my teeth. A guitarist played Eric Clapton, the song he
wrote for the dead son who fell from a window while his head
blacked with heroine. The woman I called mother strung gold with her
12-string, her son still dead. I took clay into my cheeks to make
my brother live.  I thought this was how things went. A machine takes away
a brother and replaces the brother with a Knights of Columbus,
styrofoam coffee, cheddar wedges, crudites, budweiser and chateau diana.
I have dreamt of every gone friend this year whom I did not place
on baubles and whom I don’t suppose are dead. In my dreams I write
an open letter to the ghosts who want adventures from me. I say
By dint of responsibility for these preciously gone, I forgo any right to this life.
My brother slithers up in his larvae sack in love with the fear
that embalmed me to his absence. The photographer shows me the famous
photo of my siblings and before he can die, I jam the image
through every plastic row of my teeth. A part of me is full of joy.

1 comment:

Radish King said...

Oh my god. Incredible.