We Can Never Be Brothers by Dahlia Seroussi

by JHow on June 2, 2016

in Announcements, Bonus Content, Poetry


Photo by Matt MacGillivray

Associate poetry editor deziree a. brown on today’s bonus poem: “We Can Never Be Brothers” is both hypnotic and reflective, grounding us in the body while a murky world unfolds around it. Seroussi’s poem carefully explores familial love and the painful journey of forgiving the ones we love the most in an almost haunting way.

We Can Never Be Brothers

Lying side by side in a hotel bed,
our bodies are crooked mirrors
of one another:
brother, sister, all grown, both alone.
The half-decade gulf I could never cross,
between us.
Next door, our parents sleep
in a web of foreign bed sheets,
project dreams of grandchildren
on the walls.
It’s just us now, like it always was.
Our old bedroom we shared
until you grew
tired of me, left me
on the other side of the house,
half a room empty—I filled
with toys and books
that didn’t answer when I called.
Brother, let’s say sorry
on the count of three.
I want to tell you about the men
I never love
as much as you.
I will never know their bodies
like I know yours: innocently,
with so little effort,
a comfort earned
through road trips and wrestling,
shared baths and piggy-back rides.
Strong thighs, thick brows, our marbled green eyes:
we could have been brothers. Together,
we could have been boys.
But in this artificial home
where we stay for days,
I dress in the bathroom,
I hide what’s mine from view.
I know you do not want to see what’s happened
to your baby.
I’m a monster Brother.
I thunder, I moan, I bleed.
Could you pick out my body, face masked, in a row?
No? Let’s say sorry
on the count of three.
For years I thought, if you’d love me more,
what I’d give to be a brother.
Now, I’m letting go.

Dahlia Seroussi is a Jewish Latina poet who earned her MFA from Oregon State University. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in North American Review, Normal School Online, The Fem Lit, Kentucky Review, Monterey Poetry Review, and others. She also has a chapbook, What I Know, published by Finishing Line Press. Her essay on the emotional interior of life as a nanny appeared in True Parent magazine. You can follow her #poetnanny antics on Twitter: @dahliaseroussi.

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