INFUSION by Sheleen McElhinney

Brother 1975-2016

I think of him each week when the nurse
asks which arm to slide the needle into,
the bare branches outside the window
stretched like arteries across a bruised sky.
This is how the dead show up, mirrored
in the instruments of their undoing,
slow and steady as an iron infusion to the blood.
And suddenly, there we are again, in dad’s
truck, the ashtray spewing butts, the night
he was released from the hospital,
eating Lorna Doone cookies in a gas station
parking lot, the silence between us like thin glass
until my voice like a small hammer says,
don’t do it again, but he did.

Photo by Dan Gaken, used and adapted under CC.