we had a season of left hooks
last november, fattening on thick
muscular vines long after other
produce dropped out from the ring.
my brother dug white knuckles
into his gut like he was unplugging
the drain and scraped up a marriage,
the white lace wriggling and damp.
mom wrote an essay on small matters
when she split dad's ribs
with a hatchet. she'd been practicing
the language of distance and arc
all summer; planting crescents
and willows in quilts.
dad's lungs always dreamed of
deflation, even after he triumphantly
ambushed tv cowboys from his bed.
she didn't show him the first draft
until he asked. "by the oak in
the back yard," he wheezed. "wear
plaid," she said, "it'll be easier."
aunt ginger stopped by after the
funeral, wreath in one hand, jug
of maple syrup in the other. she
took the survivors out to eat at
the casino. her beau smiled swastikas
at me; offered me a beer. but my thin
frame wasn't built for drinking, or sugar.
me, i just read books; borrowed black
sweaters from the mall; cut my hair short
and let it grow back again; wrapped my
socks around too-large shoes; snipped
fences; wrestled prime fur from cages;
cooked up recipes to land in prison.
Jeremy Behreandt is a twenty year old undergraduate student at UW-Eau Claire.