A hill came out of nowhere.
My dead brother said nothing;
he never did. Where was he leading me?

Up. On a night this clear, you could see
the broken bracelet of some small town
scattered at our feet. The little beads

of headlights came unstrung,
rolled down a black ribbon of river.
Sixty years of silence had turned his voice

to the whisper of cottonwoods.
You’re right: you don’t want to come back
until you’re dead, he said,

who’d died at birth. Then everything looks new.
The family silence trail at my heels,
doggedly sniffing other silences.

Did the man my brother had never grown into
slip through the slick streets?
The sound of footfalls turned to rain

and came out dry, and fell away.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 28 Number 1, on page 28
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