My mother asks why I must be the crying, left-behind person. Surely, there is something
to be rosy about. Even the dead are rosy with delight. This is the thing about questions. They pretend
to be curious but mostly they are invested in change. I should be less sorry someone has died,
less occupied by dreams of a hellish baptism. Nightly, my grown brother’s casket a kiddie pool
filled with boiling water—my brother, a baby again & drowning. My mother would be pleased.
Each morning, I awaken rosy: my forearms red & blistered. The blood vessels in my right eye,
burst. My brother left behind in every dream. My brother, crying.
-- Susan L. Leary is the author of Contraband Paradise (Main Street Rag, 2021) and the chapbook, This Girl, Your Disciple (Finishing Line Press, 2019), which was a finalist for The Heartland Review Press Chapbook Prize and a semi-finalist for the Elyse Wolf Prize with Slate Roof Press. Her work has appeared in such places as Tahoma Literary Review, Cherry Tree, Arcturus (Chicago Review of Books), The West Review, Posit, and Pithead Chapel. She holds an MFA from the University of Miami, where she also teaches in the Writing Program.