To my brother
Remember the time you went crazy
& asked me to hit you like in that movie Fight Club?
Im sorry I didn’t have the stomach for it,
never been much of a fighter.
You felt good & stole the car,
New York was calling to your fast mind
& you said you finally knew what it meant to be free.
But soon you were barefoot & confused
in a strange city
full of black panic faces.
You cried uneven prayers of forgiveness
through a brown paper bag
& begged me not to let them take
you away. You & I,
we are bred from the same stock-piled sadness
& nervous ticking. You said there are days
you wear your disorder like a coat
but other times it chokes you like a noose,
hating yourself comes easy.
I read the note scattered among the pills
buried beneath your motionless body:
please don’t wake me!
& when they asked you if you meant it,
you quoted scripture in a feigned southern accent:
Let your “yes” be “yes,” and your “no” be “no”
I know that naked ghosts used to haunt you at night
hovering ominously above your childhood bed
you were so sure they found you out,
& when you told this to our father
he shed a helpless tear & finally knew
what it meant to love someone more
than life itself.