To My Brother

You found a pinky in the woodpile,
underneath some wet leaves.
You brought it back to the house,
hairless and blind, shivering.
Satch said it wouldn’t survive an hour,
without its mom, without its nest,
but you gave it a name,

cupped it in your palm, drew milk
into a paper towel, and it suckled,
briefly. And in one minute seizure,
it was gone, like your boyhood,
buckled that day with your knees.

You placed her gently in a white
cardboard jewelry box, between
layers of cotton. And in a shallow hole,
before the woodpile, beneath
the grief of a nine year old boy,
beneath your clumsy words
and shaking clasped hands,
a mouse returned to its mother,
and you returned as a man.

Image: Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash

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