some old-timey people will say, I always did
like people of color, there was this one lady
who looked after my mother, O trusty soul,
if I put a twenty dollar bill on the table, she’d
act like it was a hot coal. You couldn’t tempt
that woman to steal or do wrong. Seven gold
candlesticks my mother owned and eight she
had when that nice lady left. They say African-
American now. Anyway, my mother was bereft,
but it was time for her to go to a nursing home
to be properly looked after. From diaper change
to the hereafter. The last time I saw my brother
Chris, he had nothing to say about mother or
any of this, he was busy with the Renaissance
fair, making costumes, getting his hair to grow
in that weirdo bowl cut that passes for men
of yore. He wanted that sword from Toledo
our long-dead father brought back, but I said
no, thinking it would get a good sum on block.
That was the last time we spoke, even though
we’re orphans. Doesn’t that count for something?
Apparently not. He found God. I asked him
about the lamb in Revelations with seven horns
and seven eyes, and if he didn’t think that
was some modern, nuclear invention, but
he never said a word because I was a heathen
to him by then, and his brethren wouldn’t let
him do anything but collect the check from
the auction and move on. Have fun with the
new hair shirt, I called after them. You know
how cults work; it’s all God, God, God, and,
as an afterthought, your savings and wages
just to get the good word going around, not
for anyone’s benefit, you see, though anyone
can calculate it cost lots of money to smoke
grass and lure a bunch of fine ass to some
dirty temple in the woods, but never mind, oh
never mind me, I’m the one who stayed behind
who didn’t go off with the brown shirts, I said
show me a book where the beasts have six wings
each, where one has the face of a man, and I’ll
happily show you a work of fiction, but they
said I hadn’t got the proper spirit in me and
wasn’t worth converting. Pisser. One time my
brother, that’s Chris, told our mother about
the four horsemen: the white and red, the black
with his scales and malice, and the last horse,
a pale horse. Apparently not white. She said
do you mean the President? God damn it all,
I whispered to nobody. But here’s the thing
I liked. The thing that made sense was the part
where you shake a fig tree and she drops her
fruit because she has no choice, it’s not about
figs being ripe. It’s that you asked and you got.