by Shae Savoy
Now they are men
but my brothers are children
in my memory, that’s where they
live my brothers, pounding dull bricks
into a fine red powder, smelting copper
pots of rotten stew thrown in the alley to
coagulate on Mars, my brothers.
Stout, beer-swilling men
who croon in the drunken
Kansas night, men removed
from the moon, from the elder
sister who bore them upon her
narrow elfen shoulders. Wee
chickadees without awning—
Eleven years old, I fluffed the nest.
These men are raising up their kindred,
rough-necked children who tackle one
another in the stiff grey grass, who call each
other pussy if tears sally forth.
One of these brothers took his bb gun,
his eyes hunted and wolf and I remembered
Cliff, our mother’s long-ago lover who took
care, who took of us while she deep-fried tacos
and tostada shells, down at the Rio cafe,
El Rio del Sol, the River of the Sun.
My brother, fourteen, shot out the window
of the blue Mitsubishi
Eclipse of my rapist. This brother now
grown, has a cyst on the side
of his face that pulses, that drums
of Xanax washed down with Bud won’t
shrink. And now the ring is broken.
I watched my brothers pufferfish
at the cold spines of our parents, while
my response was to shrivel, to invisibilize
and to slip through the heater vent
My other little brother threw fists like rice
in the parade of ape-faced letter jackets that
sneered “dyke” at me. Now the ring
is broken. He carries lumps
of tobacco around in his lip, spits
a brown stream, sits armchaired in a house
full of paper plates and empty
of the wife who left him, nurses
cans of malted barley and in the wide
blue fields, stubborn heads of
wheat bristle with each passing truck.
Shae Savoy is an MFA candidate at Goddard College and she teaches at Bent Writing Institute in Seattle. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in J Journal: New Writing on Justice; Sinister Wisdom; Eternal Haunted Summer and the anthology Once Upon a Time. She blogs at shaesavoy.com.