a woman at work innocently asked
and where’s your other brother?
even after ten years I often cannot
bring myself to say he’s dead
so I said Minnesota instead,
which I think he’s probably laughing about
wherever he is or isn’t
saying now that I have one brother
feels false as soon as the words are formed
so there must be a way of counting the dead –
but until I find a math that works,
I have two – although one of them currently
is unreachable somewhere in Minnesota
© Sarah Whiteley
I really did say “Minnesota” though I don’t know what possessed me at the time. And he would be laughing over it, which makes me smile. But I still never know whether to say I have two brothers or one.