by Corinne Leong


Anything I speak, I know to speak a second time: My brother 

is dying. My brother is dying. You are not my sister 


tearing through an Italian restaurant, blistering

with what I have given her no choice but to know.  


Nor are you my father, head sheathed in his own hands, 

human obit for a home where children never start reaching for knives


to turn upon themselves. Thirty years ago, my parents met in this red

-checkered restaurant where mounted televisions tremble 


with love stories birthed before them. Today, Harold plucks a banjo

that is no longer Maude over the cliff-fallen carcass of a hearse 


that is no longer Maude. Today, my brother lies stretchered 

like a trampled scarab. His stomach petaled and sagging with excess


diazepam. My father pretends I can keep his secrets: I’ve tried 

too hard. What other possible ending. You are pale and punched ripe 


with holes, pastiche of my childhood walls, so I pack you 

mute with plaster. I should tell you—last winter 


I invited death piously inside of me. Brother, I confess: 

when you stood at the top of the stairs and told me you wanted to die, 


I felt the sting of theft. 

back to University & College Poetry Prizes