My Young Brother

by Nathan Parker

My young brother with mint eyes
And hair buzzed for summer
Got stuck under a mean old lady’s fence.

Her mastiff ripped at his little feet.
She stood at the window smiling
With a double-edged bloodstained walker.

It was hot and rain fell in muddy drops.
A cluster of chocolate chips
Melted in my pocket.

I dipped and sucked my fingers in horror,
Not knowing what to do.
Poor little blond-haired Michael who loved cotton candy

And laughed at my father’s gas.
We walked home scared. Michael
Sobbed and I picked lint from my teeth.

I brought him cold grape juice and toilet paper
To wrap his feet in, and told him to be thankful
For his ribs, which she would have eaten first.

Nathan Parker‘s poems have appeared in or will soon appear in Colorado Review, Taint Magazine, Can We Have Our Ball Back, Canary River Review, Adirondack Review, and others. He lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he is an MFA student at the University of Alabama. He helps edit poetry for Black Warrior Review.