Claire Scott

My Two Brothers 

His name was James &
           he stopped breathing
my mother barely spoke 
of the brother before 
my sister & I lived in his gauzy shadow
while our mother slugged gin
waiting for another boy

When he arrived, she took our pictures off the walls
           my sister in a too-small Easter dress 
           me in a pumpkin costume that covered my eyes
put up the promised son
            who got his own piano
            who rode in the front seat 
            who got the biggest slice 
& went to the orchestra 
            with her on Friday afternoons 
while we stayed home 
            with our princess dolls
            poking out their eyes, 
            ripping off their legs

I wanted him to be a ghost like James
           when she walked past my room
to read him Treasure Island
I wanted him to stop breathing
when she sang “Some Enchanted Evening”
holding him close

Now I no longer pray for him
            to join James in some pale paradise

I no longer hope he falls from a high ledge
    or contracts leprosy or is kidnapped
           by Long John Silver
how could I be jealous of a child   
           caught in the claws of caring   

Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has been accepted by the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, New Ohio Review, Enizagam, and Healing Muse, among others. Claire is the author of Waiting to be Called and Until I Couldn’t. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.