for Loyal Jones So I came out of my rainy…
My brother barefoot in its grey thread, in his hands
the small fish hooked out, fluttering like a loose paint chip.
A jar of crawdads to carry home sat on the bank.
We’d watch them for a day until the tiny albino shapes
would hang shiftless in the water like missed bones.
On the hill, our mother, lean in dark trousers, calling us
as the dog barked to punctuate. She’d be partly angry.
The water she’d say, didn’t look right, and she was right—
the color like sky reflected in an empty oil pan.
We collided even then, but it was quieter,
until he grew taller, and I hissed to be alone.
And the creek grew smaller, shrinking back from our attention,
its mud sheen unwondrous and ignored.
Though it would sometimes flare from a car
bounding over the bridge—a slash of red
like a paper cut’s blood, startling, but nothing.
We pushed away as fast as we could.
At 16, miles downstream, he flipped
his navy Chevy over an eight-foot ledge, spinning
over the creek’s forgotten bends, wrecking
in an old lady’s garden—cement petals scattered
with glass—the truck had smashed a birdbath.
And he’d crawled out like an Achilles,
cheek full of Skoal, angry at the road, limping home,
leaving behind the folded metal, the cubes
of near-blue glass holding on the lawn like crumbled water.
The only blood was from a busted football scab,
one edge pulled up like a molting scale.