By B. J. Wilson
I told my brother that the BB I was going to fire
at him, from our second story window, wouldn’t hurt,
that his layers would protect him from the sting.
And I imagine him, now, walking into drizzle,
a desperate wonder wrapped around him
like a raincoat: my little brother waiting to get shot
like waiting to get struck—his forearms blocking
my fists before he started punching back
with his own. It pierced his jacket, burnt straight through
the nylon into his shoulder. And when he knelt down
to cry under the trees, I went to him: raindrops
roll off the oak leaves above us, the pattering
beside us, mud dark as the twilight grown darker.
Out of the black, flooded backyard, we examine the welt.
I was trying to conceal wounds like these, other kinds,
before Dad came home in a suit, with a belt,
he said, one Christmas, he only had to use on me.
Copyright 2023 Wilson