Blood Brother

          By Kelly Conger

For Callum, my adopted brother

Brother, follow me. Your blue eyes are ocean, but
I’m a fresh water baby with eyes like carp consuming
blue bottle wrappers off the bottom. Our spiritual
genome is coded in the things we share: fond memories
of Dalmatians, Christmas Eve, and the frog pond. You
pick your scabs and I bite my nails. We are only human.
My skin cells keep falling off and my face feels bare
when small pieces of me get left behind. I know you
can’t see them but I’ve become too aware of what I’ve
lost. Follow me. This identity of mine is still intact, but
these layers that I shed are like crime scene
fingerprints. You have my thin lips and you talk like
you’re drunk when you aren’t and I correct your
grammar but really I don’t mind your slips. Follow me
over the gravel roads that scrape your knees, the blood
snakes down your legs like the strands of identity.
You have the separate history, the bloodline that
doesn’t run close to mine. Tangential heritage. Follow
me into the water that cools and changes us both
to oysters.