letter from my son

I was here, then there, then here again, and I know that makes you sad.

Everything that touched me is in that old box, the sailmaker’s chest, ventilator tape and monitor leads and a snip of the fuzz from the top of my head and an inkpress of my foot, and I know you stare at that box from the outside but you don’t open it. It’s okay, mama. I belong here. I fade in and fade out, and go places, and am taken places, and I am never alone. I am with you sometimes. I talk to my twin and he talks to me. I watch my big brother as he spins.

You see my name and you cry, Liam Inglis in print. Sometimes it’s after in memoriam and sometimes it’s after certificate of cremation and you write it over and over again with a phantom pen, with the tip of your finger, imagining the permission slips and the school registrations and the passports that should have belonged to me, my name without me attached to it. And then you call for me, the hole in your chest broke and dark again, and I curl up with you.

Maybe this is exactly as it was meant to be. Maybe I was only ever to take that name to six weeks. Maybe I was only ever meant to be spirit-brother, spirit-son.

When you let me go I was taken, and you felt it. It was in the room and when you asked, it answered.

The world is bigger for you now that I’ve left it. More lonely, more tenuous. You call it gutted. But mostly it is just bigger, for what you can’t explain.

It’s okay, mama.


It is Christmas Eve and I stepped off the curb into it without looking in either direction. Every solitary moment is absorbed by him, or by the vacuum left by him being gone.