ten minutes

I am a twin.

My brother was born ten minutes after me. Ever the awkward one — me, that is, feet first, delaying matters. In that short time, in the clumsy manner of my arrival, he was asphyxiated.

I don’t remember learning, not to begin with, but I remember my brother learning — A, B, C. The pair of us, side by side, kicking our heels, back seat of a car. A, B, C. A, B, C — a game, until it was not.

Then shouting from the front, a sudden explosive rage: What comes after CWhat comes after CWhat comes after C?

D, I’d whisper, D, as if I could learn for us both.

When we were six, seven, maybe, something happened and my brother was punished. He was taken into a room and the door locked. I was shut in a separate room. No we to this punishment. No both of us.

He was beaten with a horse crop. Beaten and beaten and beaten. We were kept apart after.

The memory, even now, bears down.

*

As much as I write away from that time, I am always writing my way towards it . . .

As much as I write away from that time, I am always writing my way towards it — what am I trying to do here, offer comfort through some neat, writerly flourish? I disgust myself.

What happened was an act of extraordinary violence, inflicted upon a small child.

How can I write it? Every word is an approximation, a lie. A puppet, in some clumsy dance before the fact.

*

Whose story is this? My brother’s? Mine? And the others, who hold their silence behind other doors? What of them? What have they to say?

I remember the back of that cold car. Afternoon, but dark already; winter, then. Condensation on the window from having sat there so long and every light broken into the rain that was falling.

And the silence that followed a question he could not answer. A silence seemed made only for rage to fill.

*

So, I have written it. In part.

I don’t think I’ll write more. It’s not anything I want known. Writing is defiance, that’s all.

*

 

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