Once I had a little brother,
An ugly little brother that was I.
I was still in the nursery
When they nailed him to a clean white cross,
And said he was dead.
He flapped there all day,
Thin and stiff as a jumping jack.
But when I had gone to bed,
And the lights were out,
And the muslin curtains rustled in white secrecy,
And through the thin brown glass like onion skin
I could see the bright moon sag to the tree tops
With a heaviness I dimly understood,
While the haggard branches gauntly strained,
As useless to the moon as she to them,
I was rocked in an orange and umber cradle,
A rosy bubble light with fireshine
Floating atop the cold,
And my little brother was burning merrily,
His twisted figure
A writhing grotesque.
Yet his face never moved
And never burnt up.
And when I had drifted asleep
I still saw it
Like a reflection trapped in a mirror.
And I couldn't brush it out!
I couldn't brush it out!