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Harrison Howe

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Harrison Howe is the author of over 80 short stories and poems appearing in various online and print publications since 1999, and is a founding member of the Garden State Horror Writers, a group of writers of all genres based in Manalapan, N.J. He is the editor of Dark Notes From NJ, an anthology of short stories written by members of that group, published in 2005. He is also the author of a humor book, Purring Elephants and Killer Coconuts, published this year by Renaissance Books. He lives in Pennsylvania with his incredibly supportive wife, Dee, and their two children.

 

The Voice of Your Brother's Cry

voice-of-your-brother-27s-73133.1282579127.220.320.jpgTrying to put the dead to bed.

We square off in the dark field behind the house where my child sleeps,

Just you and me, getting down to the brass tax, let's finish this off Once and for all; your stilled heart pumping blood through my fists, Mom's back there somewhere rooting for me, she's got bruises that won't fade,

My wife's cried herself to sleep again, my son trembling in the feeble glow of his Tigger nightlight,

Sometimes you're not able to form scar tissue any longer, and the
wounds just gape open, not even bleeding anymore; just raw opened flesh That leaves a hundred holes for you to seep into, until you're settled there.

In the dividing cells, the muscle fibers, the nerve endings, you're crawling Under my skin, the ghost of you sidling up to my organs, and if that's not immortality I don't know what is.

Your debts bowing my back, your insecurities roosting up there in the loft of my brain, and yesterday my son screamed when I slapped him with your hand, remembering the feel of it, every callus on my bare ass.

And the bloodless wounds start to bleed again, and now it's just you and me On this dead grass, fists raised, it's the only language you know, And we're out here for who knows how long, the lights have gone out In my house, plunging us all the way into this writhing night, and I'm flailing against the air, realizing that none of my punches has landed.

That all I've been doing is hitting myself. I'm alone out here doing that boxer's dance, Until I collapse to my knees, the run of blood like sweat all over My glistening body, the wounds have all sprung open, Spurting, and I'm wondering just which one of us will ride out of here on that bright red gush.