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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