Col­ored stones on the Por­to beach in Corse, France, Image by Tmaurizia

Evil is a demon at the door; you are the one it craves. (Gen­e­sis 4:7)

for my brother

The way our moth­er remem­bers, I absolved you

for the peb­ble that caught me in the thin skin

of the fore­head. Even as I sobbed, I told:

We both were throw­ing stones, and I bent down

for ammo, stand­ing the moment you let loose

with a wicked slid­er. I must have been four—

we were farm­ers on the hill where peas and roses

climbed the ter­races below the house. So spring,

and we two, cooped up with measles that long March,

had at last been set free to retake the yard

from squir­rel and crow. It’s not that I recall

but rather imag­ine the harsh scarf Bubbe knit

chaf­ing at my neck, and the raw wound

of being, always, sec­ond. How true to me

your aim appeared, while my poor mis­siles thudded

near my feet. I think I would have struck you down

could I have trained my stone as I know you did.

This piece is a part of the Berru Poet­ry Series, which sup­ports Jew­ish poet­ry and poets on PB Dai­ly. JBC also awards the Berru Poet­ry Award in mem­o­ry of Ruth and Bernie Wein­flash as a part of the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Awards. Click here to see the 2019 win­ner of the prize. If you’re inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the series, please check out the guide­lines here.

Miri­am Flock is the win­ner of the 2019 Anna David­son Rosen­berg Award for Poems on the Jew­ish Expe­ri­ence. Her work has appeared in Poet­ry,” Chica­go Review,” Geor­gia Review,” and Life­cy­cles: Jew­ish Women on Life Pas­sages and Per­son­al Milestones.