last week, my brother dropped his heart 

on the pavement and we both 

watched as it cracked right open, 

spilling in red ribbons and golden gears 

like a lipstick kiss smack-dab on the sidewalk. 

it was his fault, mind. only a fool 

goes around with their heart out of their chest, 

tossing it up and down 

like it's a softball ready for a pitch. 

i told him so, told him i wasn't going to 

clean up his mess, and he said fine, 

fine, he said, bent over his heart, 

twisting clockwork with clumsy oil-slick fingers 

to see if it could be put back together. 

only a fool thinks cracked hearts 

can be fixed just like that. 

so that was how i left him--

kneeling in a puddle of bloody grease--

because really, little brother, 

what were you thinking? 

letting the world have a claim at your heart 

like that?



17 years old

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