Two Brothers Visit


I gave my youth to a house made of wood and memories
which were just about as flimsy as paper,
A house which we revisit again, fifteen years later,
Eyes glazed over, and bottles of gasoline in our ageing hands.
"I hated this house." I hear you say from the next room,
I nod silently, out of sight, you do not have to ask
if I feel the same, you know
that I do and
you throw me a pack of matches, edges frayed, three left inside
and I light one without thinking, and the clock on the wall
winds back the years
with it's broken arms.
Smoke from the match reminds me vividly of all the burnt toast
that I attempted to make as a child -
The smoke alarm screaming at me, and then my father joining in,
just like clockwork,
All the cigarettes my mother smoked in her last days of life and
how we would complain about the haze settled in the living room,
She'd laugh at us through lungs long broken,
Tell us to shut the hell up.
The floorboards moaned and pleaded with me beneath my trainers,
Begging me for some mercy that they did not deserve,
The flame was almost touching my fingertips.
"What the hell you waiting for?" you say,
And then, softer - "She doesn't live here anymore man,
none of us do. Just put the poor bastard
out of it's misery,
and we'll go get a drink."

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