July 3, 2010

Michelle Bitting

SILENCE TOOK MY TONGUE WHEN MY BROTHER WENT

Silence took my tongue when my brother went
away, now words are skittery rabbits: soft,
furry lumps huddled in my throat’s dry den.
I wait for him at breakfast where the clock
clicks its mean teeth, wait for him to tease me,
please Lord, anything, but his empty chair
staring back: a hard, narrow beast. Scary
to know one hundred sixteen children there
and then not. Scary the ambulances,
lights that would not end, turning the street blue.
Now I won’t leave Father’s side; who knows when
earth might tumble open, swallow him, too?
You know the queen flew here; kneeled down and prayed,
left a fancy white wreath on brother’s grave.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
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