Yesterday, you turned 40.

In a maximum security prison,

the location of all your remaining birthdays.

Yesterday, you were my brother,

But only by half.

A true “brother from another mother.”

Yesterday, you sang with me silly songs in Grandpa’s cornfield.

You were so desperate as a young boy.

Pursuing attention relentlessly — the negative kind mostly.

Yesterday, you were a husband.

And a father.

And employed.

Yesterday, you were reckless.

Jumping off chairlifts twenty feet up,

impulsive, even when sober.

Yesterday, you saved my three-year-old daughter,

scaring her when you removed her from that hot car.

My gratitude eternal.

Yesterday, we spent a week together.

The longest we have ever “lived” together,

in that Lake House with uneven floors.

Yesterday at that Lake House,

you ripped your shirt, yelling at your wife,

showing your true colors — your inability to master intimacy.

Yesterday, you were a Marine.

Is that where you learned to kill those two people?

With just your bare hands?

Yesterday, I had hope.

Of future Lake Houses and birthdays shared,

And broken families mended.

Yesterday is gone and so are you.

Forever resigned to the color orange and metal bars.

Your life is now filled with order and routine — essentials missing from your childhood.

Yesterday included happy birthday phone calls.

Now there is only sadness,

And sibling stories never written.

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