I found the radio he broke.
He’d placed it in the house we burnt and abandoned;
must have returned to hide the two polaroids, after—
neatly wedged them in there and thought them safe.
I never imagined him as a child:
proudly clutching the hem of his mother’s dress,
on the other side, holding his sister’s hand.
She was just as dark and scraggy as he,
yet unlike him, unsmiling.
And though a child, she looked
aware of their poverty.
He somewhat evolved to manhood:
he held my weight on his right leg
and that of my brother on his left.
Like a river dried and a desert born,
or the loan shark who hunted on Monday —
like death, fate had caught him.
My mother said:
You should have held his hand.
It might have saved the house and radio.
Anyway, I found the polaroid of me as a child,
and the one he took last year at my graduation.
I wedged them in the radio and slammed it shut.