The Curator Speaks of His Brother

My brother is the place
we left when I was a toddler
unaware of anything
but Mom unaware  we were
leaving, unaware of reason
we might be leaving.
My brother is a figment;
my brother is real. I can ask
my sisters; I can’t.

My brother is not a sacrifice.
My brother is an offering
offered me by Mom when I am old
enough to know, old enough not
to freak out over leaving him
there in our old place,
in his place. My brother is no one’s
fault, is not my fault.

My brother’s broken cage
of bones is a set of perfectly
small bones never getting
any larger and therefore imperfect.
My brother is the question
I ask myself again
how might my life
be different?

It’s the wrong question.

My brother is no longer
a broken cage of bones. My brother
is a place in the broken cage
of my heart, in the dank cell
of my life. I take sledge hammer
to cell wall, daylight it to sun,
clear away deadfall, open
my arms in invitation.

My brother is welcome.
I welcome my brother back
into my life, back into our lives.
I will summon him
to the family table
taken out of storage,
urge him to take his place.
We will all be there,
and I will ask him to partake
of the feast I set out for him,
the feast we will all share.

Andrew Shattuck McBride
October 15, 2012
PaPoWriMo ~ 2012 *Day Seventeen Poem*

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
This entry was posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, PaPoWriMo ~ 2012, Samples, Transformation. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Curator Speaks of His Brother

  1. ANDREW. WOW! This is a next-level poem.

    The repetitions of “My brother is…” create both structure and surprise. Surprises like “It’s the wrong question” and all the variations you create on the word “place.” I love how this poem turns and morphs. Bravo!

  2. Jennifer, THANK YOU so much. I really appreciate your kind, generous, and thoughtful comments–as always.

    Thank you for noting “It’s the wrong question.” I’ve been so self-centered; asking “How might my life be different?” is not it; so I ceremonially invite my brother back into my life, our lives.

    This poem came out of Kathleen Flenniken’s “Equivalencies” exercise. One poem she provided was “My Sister” by James Galvin (Orion, Nov / Dec 2008). The opening line is “My sister is a place where.” It spoke to several of us in the workshop, as we produced first drafts titled “My Brother” or “My Sister.”

    I’ll have a copy of James Galvin’s poem for you!

    In the meantime, I found it in the Orion archive!

    Blessings to you and yours, Andy

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