Brother, Bury This Letter in a Burnished Tomb

by Piper D., 16

I sit beside our mother in the maternity ward,
a deity in a hospital gown. She tells me 

God was so kind to sculpt shoulders
to fit the head of a lover, and that 

we are a race of boyish Chimeras,
failed loves lining our necks like ectoplasm.

Mum is a god herself, but she doesn’t know it yet.
I hold your ugly tadpole body, skin pink like altar salt,

and contemplate murdering the minute hand
for aging you with every second.

Mum’s Chimera theory is everywhere in your first winter,
her understanding of love is like

roosting birds in December storms
huddled in the rafters for a collective warmth.

I’ll teach you about death at a young age,
how it beats on the door like sentient rain

& how we will always scramble to cover our ears and
shove tea towels under the doorframe.

When our lineage fails us and dad gets dementia, 
we’ll play his vinyls on his old Crosley that he loved like a child.

You will realize alongside me, 
in the sawtooth pain of it all:

if you are to have children, 
I hope they do not love you so much.

You are gap toothed, running through the halls with fiery hair
suggestive of a Lazarus type of hell & back,

you are a shared flesh and blood that has 
halved my inheritance and made me feel old.

Someday we will be buried in the raggedy family plot,
roosting birds listening to the comfort of another.

Glenmoore, Pennsylvania