Brown Spot by Phil Ginsburg

My brother had a brown spot on his back
When he was a teenager
Over the years it got bigger and browner
He rubbed it and it bled
And then one day we found out it was melanoma
At the age thirty one it killed him

My parents were devastated
My brother was the constellation of the family
He was a lawyer, then a judge
One of the youngest in the state

I knew what my parents thought:
Why him?
Why not the other one?
Why him, who made us so proud?
Even I said, “Why him?”
It should have been me
It’s the black sheep that deserves the brown spot

But after my brother died I found some stuff buried in his closet
Stuff judges put people in jail for
Pictures of women, the kind you see in bondage magazines
Stuff my brother was into on weekends that would have killed my parents
If they had known about it

I burnt those pictures in a pot one night in the backyard
All my brother’s bondage went up in smoke

Like my parent’s dreams.


Old 333 said...

"Slay; or stay thy hand. Seem to slay. For these men are slain by me already."

Thanks for the poem, Mr. Ginsburg. Enjoyed it.


Gwilym Williams said...

Nice. It has the ring of a classic.


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