Floating in the icy lake tonight, my brother
dares the waves to deposit him ashore.
Carried riptide to riptide, his subdued surface
splits apart. His atoms break into confession
absorbed by thunder. Like pepper flakes
a kick in each swallow, the churning,
life preserver carved around his eye —
what a socket what a socket —
even a tree couldn’t blind him
and when he froze they simply drove
him to a bigger town to thaw in their
hyperbaric chamber a little like prison
or a butcher’s window. He was too big.
There was no apple lodged in his throat.
He wouldn’t take his jacket off
even in the crematorium. That cold.