Spring 2012, Volume 12

Poetry by Sara Borjas

My Brotherís Return

Carpet burns my palms while I do yoga in my new apartment,
and my brother sweats in his sleep in Al Dahfra.
Me, writhing and curling like a belly after drinking
and he, sharing dusty air in a makeshift bunker
with a young black man from Tennessee.
I imagine when he looked at the moon tonight,
he thought of his new son laughing, and cried.
No one here really understands what deployment is like,
knows always, what time it is both in Fujairah and California,
or sees an Arab woman trudging alongside a dirt road
and thinks of his wife and her nostalgia for long drives,
or hears a mortar whining like a spoiled child in the sky,
and whistles along like Otis Redding on the San Francisco Bay.
My brother says, no parties when I come home.
He wants to return to the quiet,
to the small spaces he knows, to dry valley heat,
to pig’s feet in menudo, to shit–talking the Raiders
each Sunday on a thread–bare couch,
to feeling cared about in our mother’s dining room
during the  Friday tri–tip dinner.
Seeing him, I will probably cry and we will make
some ironic jokes to smooth ourselves over:
How was your vacation in Abu Dhabi and
Man, you missed out on the liquor convention in Dubai.
We will go inside my parent’s yellowing house
and eat the pizza he has been missing since March.
When he goes to the bathroom, I will follow him,
pretending to look for the back of an earring I dropped,
hoping to hear him sing to himself like he did
before he knew he would miss his son’s first birthday.
Wanting to listen, I will reach down in the hallway
to pinch the imaginary backing up between my fingers,
and hear his sobbing against the buzz
of the bathroom fan, as he almost feels
comfortable again.

 

 

 

BIO: Sarah Borjas is currently earning her MFA in creative writing at UC Riverside. She has been previously published in San Joaquin Review and was named the runner–up for the 2010 Undergraduate Larry Levis Prize for Poetry judged by Phillip Levine.