Not really, no--
things weren't going too smoothly,
I remember telling you
that morning in the laundry room,
the words sticking in my throat
like lint in a trap, as I folded and
refolded a rag into perfect squares,
as if I could change the shape of things,
as if I could take the clothes from the
dryer, fold and pile them into the basket,
my troubles washed away with detergent
and bleach, fresh and clean. I told you
everything: the motel, the razors, the
call from the doctor at three in the
morning. The long drive to collect my
brother and his belongings, stowing my
fear in the rear of the empty U-Haul,
to make room for the map plastered between
my husband and I, guiding us towards that
apartment, those wrists. Upon arrival, I
find he looks the same, only paler; a
shade of life lighter, but I sidestepped
the matter, speaking of anything but the
reason we were there--the weather, reruns
on tv, his old knee injury from a bike race
gone too far. Here we are, loading boxes,
gutting the place which now blinked wide
like an eye to see us off on the long trek
back, no room even to glance at the map, now
creased into careless halves, stashed in the
door pocket of the van, relying on memory
alone and, once home, parking the U-Haul
sideways and taking up three spaces, as it
would not fit within one tiny, tiny lot.
Now, scrubbing the grape juice spots off the
counter for the umpteenth time, lowering
the volume on the ever-blaring tv, and
re-bandaging his wrists, while trying to
find myself somewhere between the laundry
and the dishes and the crying: he's got his
life back--what about mine? With my husband
urging continually in my ear: "You've got
to tell him; he's your brother."

Right now, my blood's as thin as water.

Cynthia Ruth Lewis:
I'm 38, having written poetry for the past 17 years. Currently back in the publishing
world after having taken a 2 year hiatus due to creative apathy and temporary insanity--
which, actually may have enhanced my writing. It has certainly enhanced my weirdness.

2005 Underground Voices