& (forty-seven)

J. A. Tyler

The sister breached the stairs, staring, her father looking back at her, through her brother, by her brother, two men wearing the same knuckles, tripping through the same wood in the same forests, constant sky overhead, the sound of birds. Her father, this sister’s father, piles of ash on a pyre, skating flakes on rising air, this father, from long before, appearing here, at the head of the stairs, in the room by a sick bed, in her imaginings. Her father from going back. And her brother, this other man her brother, down in a bed, dying. The sound of birds through a slight windowed opening, through glass and clouds, from reaching trees and grey limbs. Her brother, dead soon and unbreathing, struggling through final oxygen and windless sounds. The rocking chair, her mother’s mother’s mother’s, weeping movement without a body, and the family bible, prone on the nightstand, turning pages of passages, a breeze, verses freckled to the ceiling, punctuating the room. This sister grabbing at one last thing, a person or her father, her brother, dead men dying again, their hands split in dry air, coated in sawdust and angles, visions of cedar and hearts. His heart, hers. Their hearts, her father’s and her brother’s, unbecoming with her at the stairs, staring. Lost words. Bird sounds. Dim light. Then the turning and going, the being gone, the last time looks and the exit, the going gone, the soundless move, the birds and back down the stairs, out the door. Slight screams to dull skies. Raw, saturated. Thick with losing and uncoming words, stuck in grey, limbless in the yard, feet planted in yellow sleeping grass and the sound of birds in trees, her brother from trees, from wooden yards and saw blades, going back, imaginings of her father, her brother. Her. Daughter of planks, sister of boards, her heart in their cedar rooms, their angles and shapes, their unbreathing suffocation, their going gone.

J. A. Tyler is the author of the forthcoming novella SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE (ghost road press) and the chapbooks THE GIRL IN THE BLACK SWEATER (Trainwreck Press) and EVERYONE IN THIS IS EITHER DYING OR WILL DIE OR IS THINKING OF DEATH (Achilles Chapbook Series). He is also founding editor of mud luscious / ml press and was recently nominated for a Pushcart. Find more info here.