The Sweet One

My brother loves his salamanders, his newts, his gobies, his turtles, his snakes. He shines
the flashlight at the hole to make sure I see the wet black frog-like head burrowed
inside and through the love in his voice for them, I love them too.

This is the social one, he tells me. There’s the fat one, he points, and I see it
through the side of the aquarium, folded over itself, yellow spots glowing.

This one likes me to stroke his head.
This one is always
This one was making a lawn—see how green it is there?

He feeds them ticks and brine shrimp with a tweezer.
He takes apart everything electrical, gets a dead engine going, grows blue lotus
from seed, avocado, desert rose, a bonsai for the garter snake to rest on.

He makes the darkest, quietest caves, hooking up a tiny fan
to the laptop he rescued
from the dump and fixed.

The room smells warm, of ferret, living things in small spaces. Now
there’s a pink scar carved in the bridge
of his nose. I hate to

—but I do—

imagine the cop’s
fist, in leather glove
with wedding ring, as it cracks
my baby brother’s skull, as it pounds
his crystal skin.

Variable Planes of Motion

There are select moments in time, he thinks he hears someone say, where we can feel the breath of the earth’s soil. When the sulfur starts to fill the air and everything around you is thick as night.

When I Reach for Your Pulse

The electrons / within shift in perpetual motion, perpetuating illusion. What is / solid will not fall apart for unexpected reasons.