Funeral Dinner

For my brother Tony: May 1, 1966 to May 3, 1987

Dad and I sat next to each other at the cemetery,
folding chairs cold and hard on that spring
afternoon. He and I were holding hands, but
his wife slid her chilly fingers in between and
how quickly I pulled away, watched the men
lower your body into the mud-soaked ground.

At the funeral dinner, Dad heard me mouthing off,
“I’m never calling her Mom again.” He grabbed
my hand, dragged me upstairs and locked us
in a tiny bathroom. “Your real mother was
an egg donor,” he said. “That woman downstairs
is your mother.” He wiped his nose on his white
handkerchief, stuffed it back in his pocket.

He left me to stare at my reflection, black rivulets
down my cheeks, hazel eyes like his, curly hair.
You looked just like our mother: light skin, bright
green eyes, full lips. And now, just like her,
you had betrayed me: here one day, then gone.


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