I was attracted to the way he smelled in
afterschool camouflage as we kneeled
in autumn fields of easy targets.
Six months and twelve days made him wiser,
his little brothers made him adored.
I turned blind eye when he kicked dogs,
when he turned bully and left bruises and
holes in the wall. His whiskey-breath gave
me thirst to become predator,
crawling through the blankets just as we’d
crawled through mud to shoot arrows
at doe and fawn. This wasn’t me but
I learned from watching.
Afterwards, I played dead against the
softness of his bed. Here he was clean,
toothpaste and soap having rid him of the
blood from his slaughter.
I wanted to kiss this part of him,
to bathe in his innocence. Instead
there was no tenderness.
He used what I gave,
my body, my dead brother’s
hunting bow and knives,
skinning his game after
every kill. He took
what he could get, but then
so did I.