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Middletown
Connecticut

TO MY BROTHER WHO DOESN'T KNOW ANY BETTER

All

TO MY BROTHER WHO DOESN'T KNOW ANY BETTER

The Ankh

I think I’m a voodoo doll
The way your needles stick into my skin
I felt greasy hair in my palms
As I shoveled up clumps from the kitchen floor.
I cleaned them
And you
As your eyes leaked bile
And mango juice

I Saw You from feet away
A vague image
An outline
Words caught in my throat
The way they did for you
I heard those sounds
The half-formed coughs
They shook the ground beneath us

States away I feel your bloodstream
I feel it run through mine
Tainted with
Dullness and
Anxiety

We lived in a mousetrap
Your figure drooped to his knees
Glued to the floor
We’re stuck in our parents mistakes
My father with his addictions my
Mother with her endless neutrality
Our actions make patterns
Like the ones up your arm
You are a constellation of
Blood clots and missed outings

You spent birthdays in bathroom stalls
Blew out candles on empty street corners
But today,
I made a wish and
You are with me
You are in my arms and your arms bare into mine
But they do not recognize.

I want to remember not in traumas, but in miracles
So often we fixate on pungent emotions and
Memories
We fixate on the raw.

I want to remember you
Who brought me candy even after the dentist said no.
How you snuck in the dark
And left caramels--
A tiny brass pile--
Under my pillow.
I want to remember
The kitchen floor
The way the sun rose above our window and brought light to your eyes
The way that glint
Like fall
Made goldens against reds.

A stretcher escorted you out but I still have you with me.
Burned spoons litter the edges of my room
And the cigarettes you smoked make ash of my bottom drawer
The dresser quivers like your bottom lip when you told me
You Were Going To Change.

A vacuum drank my stomach and my voice said
“I believe you.”

Mina Khan '20