When the older brother, horsing around, opened fire
With the 12 gauge and shot his little brother in the back,
my Aunt Anna pressed her open
Hand over the wound, over the blown right lung.
Blood stuttered up
through her fingers. As he began to slide away,
her hand hard-flat against that death.
At Emergency, they had to pry
It away. He survived that night.
When he takes his shirt off today, at the lake,
You can see the bleach-white stretch where
No hair grows and the skin thins to
Her imprint—a hand-span—just under his shoulder
Where a wing, if we had wings, might begin to unfurl.
I said, “He’s going to hurt someone”—and the Director,
As he had been instructed by those far above the precincts
of the Workshop, told me nothing could be done until he did.
So he wrote things that spun his hurt and jagged plan round
Each other like the knife feints of the blood-masked Jack
the Ripper—“surgeon in the bee-loud glade,” he wrote.
If the blood jet was Poetry, Jack would sip demi-liters from
My neck and the neck of the girl sitting next to him.
He shouted out in my class that we were married, he
Would prove it “someday.” Skipping his meds,
Flinging a lit smoke. At the campus bar, he
broke the bottle kept in his pack—vaulted
over to cut the bartender’s throat. They tackled
him. But he shook free, reached for the gun,
ready to open fire. They called the Psych
Center there “Workshop East”: I remember that.
Late at a Hollywood dinner party, he leaned in to me,
Hair over one eye, smiling in that boyish seductive style,
So familiar from the Big Screen. Seriously drunk.
He was telling me what he feared most “on this earth”:
“Waking up in bed to find someone standing over me
with a gun.” Later I heard how he did it—
ln bed, pistol to his temple. When the man with the Glock
floated over him: he knew he was all he’d ever feared.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore
And schools are getting worried.
160 Countries Host Marches to Demand Action on Climate Change
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem
Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology.