Published in Black Clock, Issue 19

my brother wears the orange jumpsuit
of galactic trauma since

police dogs tore his back open under the house
this time he got fifteen years

visiting hours are almost over but he will not look up
lips are swollen red, cheeks bruised purple,

pupils a far-out blue orbit of shame
I came to remind him bipolar disorder is hereditary

and he’s not a bad man or ticking clock
when he was in jail first at twelve he wouldn’t look up either

I tried to touch him with a chopstick
through the three-inch plastic window

perforated with five screwholes
to get him to say something or play a game

that time, his crime was climbing in windows of stately homes
sitting on sofas pretending to be the child who lived there

this time it was holding a gun to the head of a woman
he tried to impregnate so he’d have a baby who couldn’t leave him

in the visiting room of a prison
love appears to be an animal that eats its wounded young