on his birthday,
I chipped my tooth
chewing my brother’s ashes
I had gently removed from the sapphire locket
I wore daily around my neck.

I didn’t expect the bone to be so
dry,
so tough,
so hard to chew,
hard to twist that silver cap off the
nickel heart too.
he had always been so fragile.
it was hard to follow how he went from
kiddie pool to jaundice to pyre
without more eye contact between us;

                                                                                   hug, you two, it’s Christmas!
how he went from human to bottle
to piece of metal banging against my clavicle
as I ran the length of the river,
as I stalked the equator looking for
his doppelganger,
as I collapsed in a fit and now
I’m fetal and baring it
every Christmas.
how he wandered from the shallow
without me and only some urgent voicemail
and some drawings and
ten years of silence between us
before we finally faced each other
on my way out the door.

and I accidentally threw away two of his shirts
but I swallowed the lungs with some pardon
to feel his voice inside me.
could feel his  limp exhale
impale my own throat
and hang me.
this tastes like bone,
hard like home,
familiar,
not  like fresh sorrow
but hard like memory,
and not just memory but
sudden

sharp recall,

              happy birthday.

.
you are wandering my arterial hallways
with some lightness,
some reminders,
some songlines,

                                    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


grief consumes.
I forget the sun
an entire

winter.

“new moon”

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