You, Brother

Susan L. Leary


When I am not writing a poem, I speak  
to my dead brother & consider my audience.  

I say, Brother, I am talking to you. I am talking  
to you because you assumes I am not alone.  

That you see my outstretched hand before you  
& put your fingertips to mine. To you, I say things like: 

The tomatoes are turning red & the girl in Apt. 6  
moved out. & if you hear this, you know I may very well quit  

poetry because I have only one poem left. That is, I may 
die from this sorrow, from not knowing within the empty  

atmosphere of the living room whether or not  
you have left. & if I am not speaking to you, perhaps 

I am speaking to God. But if there is no God  
& no guest, there is no one to witness any of it. 

Brother, there is cruelty in that.  








Susan L. Leary is the author of Contraband Paradise (Main Street Rag, 2021) and the chapbook, This Girl, Your Disciple (Finishing Line Press, 2019), which was a finalist for The Heartland Review Press Chapbook Prize and a semi-finalist for the Elyse Wolf Prize with Slate Roof Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such places as Tahoma Literary Review, Cherry Tree, Tar River Poetry, Jet Fuel Review, JMWW, and Pithead Chapel. She teaches in the Writing Program at the University of Miami.

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