My brother lies dying

in the same hospital in which he was born

three floors away from where my father

laughed, looking into his own wooden eyes

on his first-born’s face.

My mother’s tears ran on flushed cheeks because

this one survived.

Every other son had died in warm womb

before their hearts had even fully formed.

But my brother took twenty-two years

to find his grave.

In these white crisp walls my father


whispering silent words to

tubes and moniters.

My mother’s eyes cast up

through floorboards and grimed tiles,

past the room where his life began

and prays for it to end.