Ally’s Query

Imagine that you are part of a family
where you are allowed the security to live fairly comfortably,
you’re accepted, your picture hangs on the wall,
you get gifts for your birthday and Christmas.
You eat meals together and you even have your own room.

Imagine that you have a sibling who is denied all of that.
He lives in general fear, sleeps on the porch
and sneaks food after everyone’s eaten.

His picture does not hang on the wall,
he does not have his own room.

No gifts. No Christmas.

Sometimes your dad even takes him out by the shed,
gives him the blunt force of lead pipe,
then makes him labor for the betterment of the household.

Imagine that you mostly ignore the entire situation
because it’s incredibly uncomfortable for you to face it
and you don’t have the guts to stand up to your parents.

Imagine that you don’t ignore your brother, though,
you watch everything he does,
looking for a behavior to scapegoat the chasm in your fortune.

You take note of any
violence, discord, or provocative mannerism.

You can’t help but feel a little jealous
of the sharp individualism that is borne
over this flame of isolation.

You feel like a boring copy
of code
your mother fearfully knitted into you.

You start to mimick your sibling in many ways,
You’re an individual! Aren’t you unique?

Sometimes you’re exaggerating those scapegoat traits
and sometimes you are trying on
your brother’s painfully wrought Name like a costume.

Your parents laud the performance,
it’s comedy gold!

When your brother asks you to make him a place at the table,
you tell him that he should be happy
with the amount of leftovers he gets to feast on!

The veritable buffet of
fatty meat, stale rolls and green bean dregs
is more than enough to sate any man’s hunger.

Besides, doesn’t he know mom and dad won’t like that?
If you set him a plate, they’re definitely going to be upset.
There are not enough chairs, not enough plates.

What if they take your pictures down?
What if they turn your room into an Air BnB
and send you out to the porch with your brother?

What if you lose your place at the table,
what if they make you work for scraps

like a neglected dog on a stake in the yard?

You push it all out of your mind and say
that your brother is overreacting.
He is more suited to the lifestyle,
with his hardy disposition.

He’s stronger than you are
so if one of you has to take the porch
and do the heavy lifting,

it should be him.

He still loves you though, right?
You’re brothers and nothing could change that. Right?

Surely he understands your situation.
This is just the Way It Is.

I mean, let’s be realistic, what does he want from you?
Does he want you to be like,
his savior or something?

It seems like he is at least partly responsible for the Way Things Are.

Of course he doesn’t mind the way you imitate him
from up on your pedestal.

He should know that you’re paying him a compliment,
you’re trying to appreciate his unique take on the world.

He might be annoyed,
but that’s just how it is with brothers, right?


5 thoughts on “Ally’s Query

  1. This is, of course, a killer piece of prose/poetry. In addition, it is different, almost unique in the way it reflects privilege and complicity. I’m looking at the mirror and it is not pretty; too real, too hopeless, too true.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Who has it better, her or her brother? She’s tired of her smooth little face in the cloistered pool, skin like frozen milk, eyes like insects in amber; it’s an obsolete reflection now, as she reaches down and destroys it with a wave of her hand. Her brother is outside the cave and Plato is feeding him the best meat and life is real out here.

    This is a remarkably polished work for a spit out. You are gaining on the summit, fast and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, certainly hope this isn’t an autobiographical piece. Certainly parents are never fair but the ones you describe are pathological. This is a very intense read which you should be proud of. It couldn’t have been easy to write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it interesting that both you and Aaron seemed to instinctually pick up on my own personal anecdotal contribution to this metaphor. I don’t want to get into too much detail but it was never this bad in my family, I embellished it to draw the comparison to the position of people who are forced to live outside of the security and comfort of society because of their race or nationality, or other reasons. It was hard for me to get through writing for so many reasons but I’m glad it is readable at the end of the day!


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