A Brother's Strokes
by Vicki Mandell-King

______Wanting to escape rule and wall,
he searches in the northern wood
for the one wild, true thing
he can never name.

Then, like a lightning bolt,
blood erupts –
drowning the left side of mind,
the side that spins our stories.

No longer oblivious – his word –
he becomes quick to cry
and grateful for the right brain’s
link and flow.

Brothers laugh together now,
a signature laugh that sounds
exactly the same
coming from each chest.

______Another bleed leaves him
The heart of his mother’s ghost

With his right arm, he drags
his hampered form through
the lake, edged by the forest
he once walked.

With a left hand softened from disuse,
he caresses the forehead
of his blue-eyed grandchild, sleepless
from a dream of him dying.

______Another burst vessel
– would he call it a stroke of luck? –
frees him of the cage
a body can be.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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