LETTER TO MY BROTHER RETURNING
Loneliness is not our own, it is passed on
like the motion of a howl falling
down bare shouldered canyons,
or like clothes from older children.
Mom glues a seam of wallpaper, covers
the drawings of the tenants before us.
it’s not her place to hide our discoveries.
Perhaps, though, her place to repair a room.
You fought each other well here.
You were old enough to remember her
threats of leaving us to two separate fathers.
Our home hasn’t rattled since
the new highway was built behind the woods.
In the winter it pushes deer towards our yard.
When they arrive I stand outside with them.
We breathe together.
Skeptical of each other’s silence.
I'LL SAY THAT PART OF MY FATHER'S SUICIDE WAS SIMPLY OWNERSHIP
There are better words to begin a eulogy.
I could’ve started with Tallahassee,
the way in the evening its falling sun settled
light like dust on the mantle.
My father, the painter, started liking his work once
he began forgetting which were his.
He fell apart in fantastic colors, bright autumn red and gold,
like oak leaves shimmering praise before the calamity of winter.
He argued with the bathroom mirror,
batter of shaving cream still behind his ears.
Once while screaming the word war
to himself, our mother—in devastating brilliance
grabbed his shoulders and convinced him we had won.
Every morning he look freed from a trap,
caught all night at the edge of a meadow
where wind gathered his desperate scent
through the trees past the beasts asleep in their dens, hives, nests,
logs toppled over like folds of a brain where shadows contemplate.
I know his terror came from these woods.
I know why our mother hid the knives.
I know he didn’t want to believe he was Jesus.
I know the best wash for a canvas isn’t white.
I think he rode his bike to the playground that morning
in exquisite loneness, a ballet of propelled movements.
A bullet casing as it turns in the air,
a wisp of heat leaving the spent shell finally at rest.
Author's Commentary: I definitely reflect a lot on growing up in a unique family structure. It’s always provided a tone for my work. I lived in a small farming community in Ohio and I pull a lot of my imagery from that time. Whether I was in the woods hunting, cutting down trees for our stove, or experiencing the life cycles of the animals we raised, I always felt those moments held more significance than their immediate purposes.
Vincent Madero was raised in Washington C.H., Ohio and moved to New York City in 2002 to study theatre. He now lives in Los Angeles as a photographer and writer.