Though she was not my
mother, she could nurture a
thousand souls with a single smile.
At the bottom of the stairs, the
machine that kept her breathing hums
a low and constant hum.
Up and down the stairs, day
and night it kept the peace.
We were to know that she was
Past days, weeks, months, seasons,
it hummed when that car crash meant
she couldn't leave the house anymore.
But she still smiled.
Though he was not my brother, I
loved and loathed the way he loved
and loathed others.
Then the machine stopped its hum.
Then he stopped loving.
I can hear the shortness of his
breath as he exhales the weed smoke.
The growing wheeze reminds me
of that constant hum.
I thought I loved him as a brother.
When he stopped calling,
so did I.