For Fredi

Let your heart beat, love

Three years ago:

My little brother died when I still loved him only poetically. Fredi was fifteen and I eighteen. I loved him in the way that the Religious Studies teacher said that we loved our family. We had little in common. He hated me. He was stronger than I. I remember the way my skin yielded to him before I did. As his fingernails sink into the dark folds between my knuckles, a small part of my skin peels, only slightly, and forms a coma, half acknowledging his kingdom, half beseeching him. My brother is the first person who teaches me to thank men for loving me.

***

Now:

I see you, closing up like a flower blooming backwards, watching the world. Still. Scared?

 I see you, holding your breath. Still. Waiting to dissolve, or melt, into your background. Still.

 As though if you move… If you disturb the air, everything will shift in synchrony, and you will have caused it.

You are tempted to say that mirrors and glass windows and still waters and your lover’s eyes have never scared you.

You are tempted to say that this was a dark nightmare of the distant past, that you don’t remember in detail the way you woke up in the morning, and worked to correct, correct the defiance of your hair and the way your eyes existed as if they had their own soul and the way your back did not arch like a phenomenal woman’s and the way your skin doodled your essence.

Because you want to sound strong, invincible, Beyoncé-like, you are tempted to say it did not take a man to release your clutch on that comb and feel, correct, just the way you were.

**fictional piece**

**happy end of 2013**

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