little brother

little brother

by Kai Sjerven


look at him go he’s
soaring and laughing as the dog laps at his heels
field is too small for my little brother

look at him cry hes got
a cut above his eye
pavement too harsh on his face

look at my brother hes flying and
his hands are letting go of the swing
my mouth drops open no sound comes out

look at my brother hes coughing and his eyes are wide
car burns and crackles men cry out as it explodes in a burst of gasoline and smoke
dad sits on the sidewalk
they look defeated in the 5 am dark
man, they loved that car

listen to my brother now
he howls in punjabi at his friends through the screen
headset on, so loud, so serene

look at my brother all grown up
elementary school graduation and it
reminds me of years ago
i see my friends recycled tears in his classmates eyes
feels like his goodbyes are mine

look at me as i wake up crying
every nightmare ends with him bleeding on the floor
dont tell him that

shout at him in swedish and smack him upside the head for
taking my chocolate

hide my face too often
try to convince myself
hes annoying, im not proud

sit with him in the therapists office
just tell me anything, i say
tell me about highschool whats going on in your life

i want to ask why are you so quiet now little brother what changed

less secrets now more distance
no more fireworks on halloween together or friday night movies

i know thats because of me so why
do i feel so hurt when he turns around and
walks up the stairs

tell me anything, little brother, the silence is deafening.