My brother’s fragments rumble in the casket,
shards of human glass. We stand here until
eulogies solidify on our tongues, & we taste
the sour of past tense. A character faded
from the page makes no return—not in this chapter
or the next.
When the church is an empty, hollow carcass, his eyes
come alive, hands grasping for something unknown,
veins coiling & uncoiling, unearthing maps sheltered
in their halted blood. They promise he’ll resurface
in this sentence or the next,
a lurking footnote.
I unpeel layers of sorrow from myself like old skin.
The church’s stillness whispers of now orphaned Billy,
how his eyes spoke the language of toy trains. Now
his eyes are orphans, too. I remember him one afternoon
in Detroit, riding his toy train over pretend tracks until
his fingers grew tired of plastic & blue & he fell asleep.
He awoke screaming, face the shade of fuchsia.
Where is my train? Where is my train? Where? Where?
Did you take it? Is it gone is it gone is it gone it is gone
Your train is still here, Billy, I told him. But where?
he wanted to know. Where, where, where? He pounded
his fists. Billy, your mother took it to the other room,
put it in the toy box. Would you like to find it?
didn’t believe me.
No, he said, it’s still here.
He repeated those three words again,
fingers searching the plastic tracks
for a body.
Meghana Mysore lives and writes in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Her work appears in Alexandria Quarterly, Burningword, Crack the Spine, Third Wednesday, VoiceCatcher and others, and she is also a fiction finalist in the Columbia College Chicago's Young Author's Competition and a Scholastic Writing Awards National Medalist. She will be a freshman at Yale University in the fall.
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