Christopher Dubey
Steven

Dad is beating Steven with a belt outside,
near where the metal swing-set used to be.
I can hear the lashing of the leather
on my brother’s skin.

Tonight, Steven is right next to me,
in his bed across the room.

“Steven, we’re gonna call the police tomorrow, okay?”

He mumbles or says nothing.

“Steven…”

Was I talking in my sleep when my roommate rolled over in bed and the springs
lashed
back and forth?

Steven, you’re like Lucifer, a seraph of seraphim,
highest order of angels, with six wings and four heads
and a face no mortal beholds
without disintegrating.

Why did you fall, Steven? You knew Daddy would damn you.
You’re the dark side of our father, that he can’t stand perceiving,

Steven. I hate how we’ve been lacerated.
I don’t want to carry Christ over the water.