My brother in the backyard sleeping, hours
after he gets out. This image of him. There
I am, far beyond it at a desk I’ve placed
next to a window because of this life I’ve
chosen. With my pen—fixture-like—and
a sheet of paper. Let me start again. It’s early
morning, and my brother sleeps on the cement
in the backyard. I don’t know why. I don’t
know what I think this poem can do
for my soundless brother. But my pen
on the page—where the image I’ve created
of a brother alone with his sleep—begins
to draft, also, a ladder against the wall
for my quiet brother to climb in the sweats
he came home in. Once he wakes. Awake,
brother. My mother asks what he’s doing
there. And there she is: my mother
at the kitchen window overlooking the yard
and the street beyond our house. Yellow plastic
gloves hang over the faucet in front of her.
They drip soap water right next to my lack
of imagination. I’ve always placed my mother
kitchen-busy when all she wants to do is read
a novel on the couch before getting ready for bed.
She’s been made to search each situation
for what’s better, for what can be navigated.
She dries her hands and calls to tell me my
brother is home now. Finally. I haven’t realized
if this poem is about my own brother stirring
towards chance, or what my mother wishes for.
One day I decided to call everyone to the front
to announce that I was going to become a poet.
Everyone nodded then hurried back inside.
Everything was good for a long while. I grew
strong, took out loans I intended to forget, piled up
memories onto each page and felt sufficient. But
look now. There is the morning, miles out.
It approaches my brother, my slim brother who
is about to blink. Just like in a fable. My brother
will wake up. He must. My mother can’t find
her glasses. She goes outside, offers my brother
a basket of oranges she hopes he holds like
a chalice. I write small clouds and there, they
pass above him. Every star exits on a blue string.