1st Place - Oct 2012

"an adolescent winter"

i wake to the sound of my brother
leaving the house, coat thrown over
his night clothes, a gun propped

naturally on his boyish shoulder as
any other extension of flesh and bone.
outside our cat has been taken by a fox

and even i know that it's useless to follow.
but my brother, who has practiced squared
shoulders and a raised chest in front of the
mirror since his thirteenth birthday, imposes

the burden of manhood upon himself;
it's over by the time he catches up.
at his feet: what the fox leaves behind, unguarded,

still hot and burgeoning red against the
lace snow. my brother slings the gun under his
arm and turns toward the house, will not

look up at me, striding a dark shape into
the foyer light, bearing an impossible weight
on his unfledged shoulders.

~  Chelsea Comeau