Evil is a demon at the door; you are the one it craves. (Genesis 4:7)
for my brother
The way our mother remembers, I absolved you
for the pebble that caught me in the thin skin
of the forehead. Even as I sobbed, I told:
We both were throwing stones, and I bent down
for ammo, standing the moment you let loose
with a wicked slider. I must have been four—
we were farmers on the hill where peas and roses
climbed the terraces below the house. So spring,
and we two, cooped up with measles that long March,
had at last been set free to retake the yard
from squirrel and crow. It’s not that I recall
but rather imagine the harsh scarf Bubbe knit
chafing at my neck, and the raw wound
of being, always, second. How true to me
your aim appeared, while my poor missiles thudded
near my feet. I think I would have struck you down
could I have trained my stone as I know you did.
This piece is a part of the Berru Poetry Series, which supports Jewish poetry and poets on PB Daily. JBC also awards the Berru Poetry Award in memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash as a part of the National Jewish Book Awards. Click here to see the 2019 winner of the prize. If you’re interested in participating in the series, please check out the guidelines here.
Miriam Flock is the winner of the 2019 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for Poems on the Jewish Experience. Her work has appeared in “Poetry,” “Chicago Review,” “Georgia Review,” and Lifecycles: Jewish Women on Life Passages and Personal Milestones.