Love Poem

by Gretchen Primack

Some of your brother’s illness was there all along,
some bloomed as he came of age. You came of age
in the bunk below, his shrieks staining
the ceiling, grease from his head staining
the wall. He is still there. You climbed out

how you could. You have a trace of his dis-
ease, as if he is drowning in what only misted you.
The mist makes faces a fog. People are mystery,
a challenge you don’t see reason to meet, figures
to watch on their plastic fields.

Leaves, though, are in sharp focus. Phoebes are, dogs,
mosses. And I am, as if I were only partly human.

At the feet of the white ashes, mushrooms wrinkle on their way
out, white kneecaps and beaten copper lids listing.
You sing their sub-species, nibble and crow the afternoon.
Rich birch peel themselves for you. Hummingbirds hum
and swan on your juice. Sometimes I pull

you away to where strangers stand and your hands dangle,
teeth grind til you find a creature winding between the legs.

Touches pulled you from the woods, from your brother’s
howls, your mother’s mumbles against the invisible,
to our little tangle. You move a hand to my thigh,
your mouth green with forage. A being trying to be
in the unwished.