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Oct 2014
Brother, in my dreams you have always just died.
I’ve never dreamt you are still talking to me
nor are you many years gone
your absence is always known, fresh, and painful
it feels like a skinned knee
stinging red and raw and with every movement
It reopens and spills out more and more pain.

Sometimes I am at your funeral
I’m talking through tears about the things you loved
listing off:
reading books
long conversations
a good beer
and I stop at me.
How much you loved me, how much we were alike
and our one difference-the size of our hearts.
Mine, a tiny fragile thing with room enough
only to house you and
you, who had a heart so big
your body couldn’t let it live.

It couldn't keep breathing without making your blood thinner
so that it could more easily pass through that
giant beating ***** of yours
such thin blood that kept you alive just long enough
for you to feel every bit of pain and every moment of sadness
that having such a big heart always brings
every sad thing I feel in my dreams.

Brother, I'll say to your corpse
remember that time you were drunk
so drunk that when I told you we were out of ice
you started sobbing
you sobbed on the ground and you screamed so loud,
and you said, “but where will the penguins live?”
I laughed at you, I picked you up off the floor
and I told you, “They can live with us and I’ll pay their part of the rent.”
Then I whisper to you, softly enough
So that the congregation won’t hear
I love you more than you loved everything
Even penguins.
Hayley Neininger
Written by
Hayley Neininger
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