He never knew how much
he scared me,
or maybe he did.
Perhaps that was the idea.
After he’d been released
my older brother went
around the table telling
each of my siblings
who would make something of themselves
or who would wind up on Welfare.
He said Welfare had my name on it,
then asked if I was a punk,
asked if I knew what a punk was.
In prison a punk is the guy everyone
rapes because they can,
because it is just that easy.
My brother is a different man now.
He’s a genuine horse whisperer,
out in the middle of nowhere
with his wild mares and stallions,
using secret words to coax them.
I wonder what he says,
what parts they understand
and how much they obey,