I wrote you an email last year, addressed to your tattoo shop. Did you ever get it? It was about our cousin’s wedding—you were invited, but she didn’t know where to send the invitation. You know, your house really was out in the middle of nowhere. How many houses are there in that tiny town, anyway—five? And a church? And some railroad tracks? And just a little bit up from the churchyard, that narrow country road where you landed after flying out of a car.
You never saw this house I live in, and you’d been living in your home for years before I ever visited. We weren’t too busy, but were we scared to act like brother and sister? Today I was thinking that it’s still July, a few weeks before your blood marked the gravel with a great brown stain, but the leaves on the silver maple in my front yard have turned sunny gold speckled with mildew. Meaning the accident already happened. Too late for me to ask you how the distance between us unfurled, why your once-tight grip on my hand loosened into a flat, retracted palm.
Too late now—but death demands an account. The closer the death, the more detailed its demands. And all this accounting I must do with you, Boy, is like sending a hundred years’ worth of birthday cards and getting none in return. But so it will be. I have no other way to speak to you.