drift the liquid

Years now since you drifted
from me, and I forget your voice -
years since we moved together underwater,
breathing blue, in this town we hated & loved.

Someone asks what you became.
I deliberate: how to word it?
You sell drugs, you think you’re untouchable,
though you’d like to live in the center of a building
without windows for bullets to shatter.

You smile when you tell me you’ve got to go kidnap someone,
gotta drop off & pick up, and if people d i e it isn’t your fault
(they take the stuff too hard, the white & the liquid, and they wilt alone in the drink.

You say you want no one, that family lets you down
(god knows I have - I picked you up at the ferry
when you first left home in crisis, bought you a pair of jeans
& didn’t know what else)
I’ve never known what to do with you,
as if you were a problem I couldn’t fix.

Being here, where we grew up,
I think of you more than I do in the city
& I miss where you’ve gone,
that you no longer need me.

I am vague. I say: “My brother is gone,” because
there’s no other way to say that every week I expect you to be
killed, I dream about your skeleton,
& when we talk I see a sad child.

But I know I’ve lost you,
that you’re no longer the boy who followed me around,
though I will not tell anyone
how you learned to turn from me.