When we don’t invite your older brother to the wedding & your mother wants to know why,
we’re not quite sure what to say. How to say her son is not the man she thinks he is, to say her son hates her youngest daughter, to say yes, I suppose I’m replacing him.
You send your brother a letter. I send him a letter. His letter-opener falls behind the stove, or the blade dulls, or the letter gets lost in the mail, or he burns the letter like a scarlet fever.
I feel an old bruise on my abdomen. I find old paperwork, dig a grave in the backyard. I drown my dead name, old driver license, undergrad college degree in cow manure.
I get lost on the Internet for hours. Ohio tells me we shouldn’t bother moving closer to my parents. The state of Michigan tells me not to start a family. You tell me you don’t sleep when I’m gone.
We keep a careful spreadsheet of bylaws, court cases, political stances of house representatives. You say I’m not the problem, & maybe that’s true, & maybe I need your dad to love me.
We send your mother an extra Christmas gift wrapped like a cobbler gluing shoes, silent work under dim light. You are asleep & snow is tapping the window, a quiet wind melting through the door.
-- Remi Recchia is a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University. His work has appeared in Sleet Magazine, Barzakh Magazine, Pittsburgh Poetry Review,Front Porch, Gravel, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Haverthorn Press, among others. He holds an MFA in Poetry from Bowling Green State University.