Sorting through the chest’s junk, I happened
on this picture of him, a stranger I lived with
month-to-month while I looked for something
cheaper. He lost his arm at seven when
his brother made him climb a telephone pole
and touch the live wire. The fall should’ve
killed me, he said, but I landed in a garden bed
our neighbor had recently turned. I had to relearn
how to write, how to draw, how to throw a ball.
Late at night we’d talk about our brothers,
how hard it was to forgive. He loved bragging
about the amount he could handle: make a call,
pound a burger, and drive stick shift all at once.
When we juggled clubs he’d tease me for using two
hands but we both knew we needed three
to make the pattern work. I don’t know where
he is now, or what he does, or if he’s in touch
with his brother. In the photograph he’s jammed
himself into the small gap between the mirror
and the clawfoot tub. Eyes shut, smirking, he lifts
his palm into the air which perfectly doubles
its reflection so he looks like a priest offering
benediction. I don’t remember taking it,
but someone did, and I was the only one there.