smoking on the porch on Thanksgiving
we were dragons with our own private keepsakes.
it snowed & kept the family at bay.
no wars came to the lawn & no birds
feasted on each other's legs.
just the silence that ice promises.
we shared a set of mittens. my left hand
your right. the tree in the yard for dinner.
a loose tooth giving in & falling still hot
into the piling snow. not enough storm
to go around. perky queer oven.
a timer on my face dinging all day.
i was annoying & so were you. i knew nothing
about serving spoons. stole cigarettes
to practice our mouths. red glow
of the tunnel. celebrating
irony in a country of bad ghosts.
burning money for the hell of it
& lying "i don't have any more." crooked nose
from a mis-remembered punch.
the wishbone, missing. tracing bruises
in sharpie. not enough fine china
for all the services. thumbs on the table.
being a terrible child takes work.
we exceed al expectations & link arms
only after everyone else
has gone to sleep. my ghost
with your ghost. the train set aching
in its box in the attic.
i show you the coffin i've been building
& you promise not to tell anyone else.
the secret lengths. we have no more relatives
& feel thankful. the dog dies
over & over again. what are we going to do
in twelve years or so?
i say, "brother?" & you respond
i with a nod & a dog-earing face, saving me
for the next morning when we both
can trade surnames. slices
of murky apple pie. forks stuck
in the dirt.