I ignore it.
Wearing my brother’s middle school blazer
under my coat, I’m in a heady fog of mothballs.
I feel pockets
of spitballs and crumpled notes.
The priest took notes the other day
because he didn’t know my brother.
Isn’t it like some shooting gallery
target riddled with holes?
I feel giggles spilling
through the holes.
I hemorrhage whiteness
as the gold buttons hold the dot, dot, dot
of the candles and we’re back on the mountain
with my brother the climber.
Isn’t he strange, alive only
in that jot of red windbreaker?
Wind and polish is what I hear,
my brother organized,
full of purpose like a shiny thumbtack
and here we sit, field of black shoes, stained glass.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved those trips to the mountains
even if someone always had to sleep in the car.
Just this morning at a stoplight, I saw
this face so empty in a car.
Somewhere in the old house, hundreds of slides,
some parts of the puzzle like that face
turned blank as snow.
Bright midnight parking lot:
we wake in the marigold dark
and I say go back to sleep.
Gabrielle Frahm-Claffey’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Alaska Quarterly Review, New American Writing, Pleiades, Poet Lore, River Styx, and the Paterson Literary Review, among others. She earned an MFA from Columbia University and lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.