#OctPoWriMo 2021 — Day 5: “Verglas”



Touch base. freebase. Mama is comforted by scorched gum wrappers. “At least they aren’t–”
But we don’t talk about what killed
your brother. Or any other name
on the assassin’s list.

I know a beloved who cut it short. merry christmas. I know about keeping death a secret to soften blows. I know Mama’s signature “holding it all in” face.
I know my own in a splattered
gas station mirror.


I’m running alongside him,
gaining speed only for him
to pull ahead at the next blink

it looks monstrous no matter
who’s doing the chasing —
did I mention we’re
going in circles here?

like nanaboozhoo and
pukawiss but I’m a sister
and I don’t think he’s
ever seen authentic snow

one day he’s Jesus Christ
and the next day he says
he can’t bear that burden,
so he’s just lost

and I don’t need to be told,
I know, that there are shadows
that swathe you so tightly
you don’t come back the same


after putting his head
through a window pane
to cut the pain
he says to Mama:
“No, ma’am, I’m not
mad about it. No sir, I ain’t
holdin’ on to one bit
of resentment.”


“you look good through glass”
through glass, cracked like glass,
made of glass, glass eyes, glass tears,
look at them crystals, slashed by glass,
stepping on glass
to get to you

look at the icicles and tell me
you don’t always choose
the best weapons

“what’s in YOUR veins?”
boy had some murder in his eyes
when he broke that arm
in six places. brothers 
cause nerve damage. and through
too many bandages
we forgive.
we forgive.

Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

Published by Jennifer Patino


16 thoughts on “#OctPoWriMo 2021 — Day 5: “Verglas”

  1. Great poem! I love the abstractness because I read a few different meanings in it. I was feeling it was about a brother with self-destructive tendencies, but that’s just me 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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