ELEGY FOR MY UNDEAD BROTHER
Imagine I am a monster.
Imagine there are others
who imagine I am a monster. We
are standing a ways away
from an abbey in northeastern
France. We are amidst a necropolis.
We are burying you, or perhaps,
a distant relic of you. Either way,
you are there with me. I fondle
the thin walls of your cranial bones.
When we step into the now excavated
grave, you enter your best
life. Look at it this way:
Catullus says "forever" before ave
atque vale, indicating
that the position of your face
(west) + the position of your feet
(east) is a parting gift, for we
will never again
meet, regardless which side
of the vale we inhabit.
Scientists insist we are divine
omens— that the layout of yourself
in death prevised the kindness given
to you in life. Brother, what
do they call stained-glass windows
in unfinished churches? Do
they count the sutures
where your wormian bones overlap,
as I do? See me— I am
practicing my monstrousness
in the grave. I rip apart your cranium
at those seams. I disrupt the repose of your
lovingly arrayed remains + devour them—
if I am to be a monster, I will be a good monster.
I sometimes wonder if I should die first or if my brother should. So I wrote these elegies. I think more poets should write about their own awfulness. I read [this article], or one like it, and found the idea of not being stigmatized a very great and dramatic claim. How could you know? How could you?