Before my brother was born
I was fourteen and dying;

attention kept me warm
and mother-loving and life

was the path of least risk.
It was the thrill of jaywalking

on a rainy school afternoon
on my way to speaking at length

with my books. I never learned
to call it escape until I discovered

yearning—had never consciously stepped
into that realm of myself

until I knew the thousand ways
one could hold a woman, or

the forgetfulness of our senses—
of scent and its unending journeys.

It was the moment my brother was born,
when there was no escape

for either of us anymore
that didn’t promise longing.

Welcome to this world, we said to him. Fare
well—as if we had launched a flock

of messenger birds, watching the hands
on our clocks until each squab

finds home again. Because how else
are we supposed to move

in this endless dance
but to scatter the self?  What other way

but to look out this window
at the little boy running

across the street in weightless July
with the rain and the dew and a smile

on his face as he slowly uncovers
the many prisons of love?

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