Dawn Corrigan

The Pair Who Stayed

The man enters the house
with a tremendous banging

and hawking up phlegm.
He has a cold again.

He goes in the kitchen
and runs the water

at full power—
always full power—

and clatters the knives
in the sink

and rummages, loudly,
for something to eat.

Then he flings himself
into his seat,

turns on the TV
and flicks abruptly

from one station to another.
It’s rude, I think,

cutting off so many speakers

Finally he clicks the power off
and tramples down the hall

to the bedroom.
He’s my brother.

And only when
I hear him

murmuring to the cat
do I realize what

I meant to say:
Is your cold any better?

Did you have a nice time tonight?
How was your day?

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