Letter From My Older Brother

Dear Jules,

Your left arm cast free, skin peeling, and oddly white,
we’re walking home when a green car pulls to the curb,
the front passenger door swinging open. A stout man
leans across the seat, smiling. Come see my puppies.
You run towards the car, and I scream, no, no
with such fury it startles the man, who speeds away.
Just two houses from our apartment, we step out
of the deepening shade of the elms lining 8th Street.
Sentry still, eyes locked on his taillights.


I begged you to get up ten, or maybe twenty times
after I bounced you off the high end of the teeter-
totter, your elbow first to greet the concrete.
You said, I can’t, I can’t—still as the time
you fell on the radiator and had a concussion,
as the time you fell down a set of cement steps
and a nail pierced your upper lip, as the moment
we saw the shrunken heads in an exhibit at Montréal’s
World’s Fair, your face whiter than your cast free arm.