Brother

You were a fiend for chocolate.
Your face would tighten wide smiles
that stretched across a row of buck teeth
filled with sticky brown saliva.
We have this saved in pictures
with your pupils glowing red,
reflecting back the flashbulb
like cats' eyes.

No one would know from the pictures
that you fell over into the piano bench,
bit your hands into callouses,
and bled dark circles on the carpet
after banging your head repeatedly into the floor.
I could hear your teeth clattering together
as though you were all bones in a soft jaw.

They would think you were happy
from those pictures.
They would think you were
the eldest we admired,
the first to drive the car,
the one who broke our parents in,
the crazy older brother
who got lost at war,
because we don't talk
about you
anymore.

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