- I Waken to Hear My Brother Say He Wants to Die
I feel a presence, as if Elijahentered the front door behind my brother,who is drenched from the downpour.From the top of the stairs I hearmy mother struggle to find the right words.
My brother sits on the edge of the sofa,his blue eyes glazed. His T-shirt is filthyand stuck to him, and he reeks like a dead possum.His hands cannot hold his face.
His best friends, two brothers, had come to visit.When they left, their two guitars sat upright in the back seat.My brother keeps repeating: "It wasa blind old man who ran that red light.They should have slept at my place." [End Page 112] "Go back to bed," my mother tells me.All night I drift, dreaming on the hall floor.
I am the possum cast by the side of the road.I am the mother with the healing spittle.I am the old man confused at the stop sign.I have hips like a twelve string guitar-I am my brother's lover, and the shy prophet at his elbow. [End Page 113]
Sandra H. Tarlin is Associate Professor of English at Bronx Community College, CUNY. She is a graduate of the University of Houston, New York University, and Binghamton University. Her poems have appeared in such publications as Ark/angel Review, Mobius, Poetica, and Western Humanities Review. She received 2nd place in the 2005-2006 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Awards for Poems on the Jewish Experience. The House on Fire, her first collection of poems, is currently being submitted to publishers. She may be reached at Sandra.Tarlin@bcc.cuny.edu.