Sara Birl


Upon Seeing My Brother's Death Certificate

I was young once
And thought the world was round
And happy like Mother's pregnant belly
Which wasn't really round
Or, for that matter, happy

In the center of it
Her navel; a coiling serpent
Where she had been cut
Like an astronaut
From her own mother's moon

I used to place my ear
Right next to that serpent
And think:
My brother is still hiding

Those were the days
Before I knew how
To speak thoroughly
Or memorize the names of countries
Listing for my teachers
All of their endless wars

Those were the days
When my brother
Was still alive
And not brought home
Already buried
From some place
In the center of the world

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