KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Poem: 169 words

Two Brothers

by Tim Hawkins

The west wind blows his rail-thin silhouette 
slouching back to town as Halloween 
fades, scattering my middle-class pieties 
like discarded wrappers at the children’s feet. 

He gnaws on domesticity like a bone, 
leaving gristle on my lumpy sofa bed, 
humoring my good intentions like a faithful dog 
who would eat his way through you for his freedom. 

At some point, as frost gathers on the horizon, 
I begin to mutter about values and hard choices, 
though, occasionally, I too, long to sleep in contentment 
beneath the piano, or to wake with leaves in my hair. 

Then, just like that, without a word he sets off again, the children 
with fewer tears and questions as they grow accustomed, 
and I, with no reliable information 
about where he sleeps tonight. 

Many possibilities—alleys and boxcars 
or wrapped in plastic out beneath the pines— 
though I try hard not to imagine. 

Instead, I settle for tossing and turning, 
playing the piano, and contemplating 
sleeping in late from time to time.



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