When you take a hero’s stance at the edge
of so much broken glass, remember the first time:
your body fresh pummeled between rubber and snow,
a thicket of rats for your shroud. Little brother, scrape
the moonlight from your throat. You’ve ossified with slaughter.
At your side, three bellies soft for bleeding.
How many nights did you make unwitting toy
chest your funeral pyre, hungry to shake
the stubborn scales from their eyes—how many mornings
did you wake to frantic braille of vermin paws, a phantom
in the skritch of your sheets. What will you do, when you smash
cut to morning and their bones still hide in the road
the alley the pond–
their paper shields ripped and rippling underfoot. No.
Cloak yourself in shadow the same heft
as their forgetting and remember the way
you detonate smelling phosphate and curb.
Watch as you knit together again,
that they might stay awhile to play pretend.