DEAR BROTHER Excerpts: A.M. O’Malley Poetry

Dear Brother

Three babies came between us.

They were all sucked away or withered on the vine.

The summer you were born I had buds forming on my branches.

I had touched tongues for extended periods of time with boys

who thought I was fifteen or sixteen, boys with skateboards, boys

with ripped collars, boys with fathers like mine; gone and drunk.

I rolled in the hills with them,

leaving circles of flattened grass behind us.

I came home through your window.


Dear Brother

When you were a crying baby,

I put orange soda in your bottle.

You fell asleep with the sugary nipple

still in your mouth.

Your milk teeth grew in rotten.

You seemed happy.


Dear Brother

Our mother taught me

to turn my underwear inside out on the second day.

These things happen to us.

We do not give birth to ourselves.

A.M. O’Malley lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is the Executive Director of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. Her writing has appeared in Nailed Magazine, Poor Claudia, and The Burnside Review, among other publications. Expecting Something Else, her first full-length book of poems, is out on University of Hell Press. Find her at and @amomalleytweets.


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