Variations on a Brother War
Eliza marked her mother's death on her inside thigh, a subtle arc of blooded line, curving towards her female heart, the incomplete part of her, where no babies would be. Her mother, who died giving birth to her. Her mother, who never held Eliza when rain came down in mists and the outside was gray. And Eliza, on the bottom of her foot, marked the loss of her father, who wound out for war and never managed his way back. Eliza, when she stepped, she limped on her father's feet, powered on her mother's thighs, breathed air of cannon smoke.
Eliza, she marked the insertion of Miller on the top of a hill overlooking their valley, where the sun opened and closed, where she laid her hair out on a bed of flowered grass and sighed up at sky. Miller who called her name when she hung clothes from the line and Miller who watched into the insides of her when she was standing on her porch or riding her horse. Miller who first held her hand and parted her body and floated the words of heaven up and into her. A marker of sunshine in a valley of fog.
Eliza has an unseen marker for the way that Gideon has held her down and trounced her body, a marker for the unsubtle and shifting movements of his body on top of her, writhing a snake below her belly, making new edens of her. This Gideon whose eyes are gold-flecked and whose muscles are bursting and whose mouth says I take when I take and who hands her flowers only at the marker of other deaths, never the chance of his own, even underneath the duress of bullets and the pull of Miller, his brother tugging these same tight lines.