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Carrying My Brother to the Ambulance

This close, I for the fourth decade notice how

beautiful I find the stark black lashes of his eyes.

It’s autumn—after autumn, actually—everything

awash in the given plenty of spent leaves. Ice

in the air despite the sun. A few bars of something

bracing I can’t quite place grace the whole of the cradle

that we’ve made. I slow as if to ask what song is that?

I can’t stop noticing, which is already a kind of asking.

Which is one way to have a story go on without end.

Another way to keep a story from ending

is never to start telling it. My brother’s silent,

split, spilt, bruised, half-buried in his milk, gone

red at the tongue, orange at the eye. So entwined

and still I don’t once stagger in the dirt.

I still have my brother. My hands know this

by the weight. As if the worth of life were knowing.

I never knew I could carry him. Now it’s another story.

Once I caught his front teeth with a bat.

Once I saw a dog chasing a child and I tackled it.

I didn’t think of fear until its body was here,

livid in my arms. By then there was no time. Now,

out of my hands, my hands grate air like they are the place

in the earth where roots continue to turn dirt into themselves

while above a blade has clipped the bloom completely.

from The Newest Employee of the Museum of RuinFind more by Charlie Clark at the library

Copyright © 2020 Charlie Clark
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Charlie Clark Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.