offering 1

By Barbara Eknoian

I’m wheeling my baby brother
down the boulevard in his
baby carriage. He smiles like an angel.
I walk along and imagine
what a fine boy he will be.

A phone call in the present time:
“The police just took your brother
for a 72-hour hold to USC lockup.”

Dad’s proud of their change-of-life baby.
He hitches a ride home
with the stewardess, then brings
her in to show off his infant son.

Today, my brother sobs in front of my door.
He says we don’t understand him.
I’m controlling his money.

At eleven, he’s on the stage
singing and dancing the soft shoe.
For his first and only commercial,
he pretends to be a young boy
locked up because of drugs.

I say, Mom and Dad wouldn’t want me
to give you money to kill yourself.

He asks, So you’re communicating
with the dead these days?

I’m at wit’s end not knowing how
to cope with his sadness.
I seldom drink, don’t smoke,
never dabbled with drugs.
I search for Apricot brandy
in the back of the closet,
and pour myself a big drink.

Previously published in Why I Miss New Jersey by Everhart Press.

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