The milk’s spill reflects red next to the torn bear’s heart.
While making dinner, I speak to my vanished brother. He announces
a black dog carrying in a gift of glistening pig bone
from a field filled with butterflies filled with hunger.
Do you know the butterflies are scavengers? my brother asks.
I say, I’ve seen a swallowtail enter an armadillo through its blown-out eye
and emerge from the groin. My brother clicks his tongue, says, the distance …
The dog chews. The butterflies turn into candlelight against greasy plates
at night, while at my feet the hardwood floor reveals its rings
expanding out. I wonder if my brother ever used his pocketknife
to cut something loose so it became while fleeing a circle within a circle.
My two-year-old son drags his fingers through the milk,
and the puddle becomes a hurt wing. I wipe his hand clean.
He takes his torn bear close, kisses it. My brother asks,
Do you know never to be the cup? Yes, I say. I’ve watched water turn into air.
Before he walks out the door, before air becomes a bell at my ankles,
my brother ends, it will consume you. Later, my daughter watches herself
wet her face in the mirror. I lie in bed with her small, sleeping sibling.
He speaks nonsense in dream, but I hear it as question. I even bring to his eye
that brief color one cannot see when far, far away from home. I begin,
never be the boy who enters, exits this life. But I stop, start again, never be the boy
who will drop a stone …into the boat … into my chest.