My Brother Lives on the Other Side

My Brother Lives on the Other Side

“An anguished relative carried the body of Suhaib Hijazi, a 2 year old… I stood in the crowd watching, clearly a foreigner and pretty obviously an American, yet no one stopped to say to me, Why? Why… are your people supporting this atrocity? No one raised a fist in my face, or pointed an accusing finger in my direction…”
– Steve Sosebee (Palestine Children’s Relief Fund),
an American in Gaza, 21 November 2012

It takes time to wrap a child,
the nurse tells me, not knowing
how many times I may have practiced
with something that didn’t squirm
and made so much noise.

She stands waiting with me,
lengths of bleached fabric
in her wrinkled hands.
The doctor nods, I come
closer. He holds before my eyes

the first of my twin daughters
to come out of the calm
darkness of their mother’s flesh.
He counts each finger and each toe,
making sure I see them intact,

not severed by accident
as he cut into my wife’s skin.
I only see gray, white,
and red, including this child
who must be made to cry.

Her sister follows, barely
larger than my hand. It is pure
luck that they are born
here, protected by these
sterile walls. Safe.


About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. His latest book is BLOODRED DRAGONFLIES, published by Deep South in South Africa. Check out the official blog page for Bloodred Dragonflies. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. San Anselmo Publications released HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS in 2019 followed by CROCODILES IN BELFAST & OTHER POEMS in 2020 - both books can be purchased through their Facebook page. View all posts by matangmanok

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