Chris, sleeping on the wood floor beside your bed and waking up before even your mom got up, going downstairs and petting your cat Patches who seemed so fragile under my hand, like a bony model of a velociraptor practically, to remind myself I was still capable of love and able to be loved without breaking, is how we come to know we are ancient animals roaming pastures, filling space in the hopes we might lose ourselves in it, and later be excavated from it, and is an openness I think our friendship has spread its veiny arms across.

I remember snapping through branches of telling myself I never needed anybody, while running through a decade of strong will here and another of resilience there, while holding the VHS recorder in my head up to the documentary in my heart until, like a filmmaker, or like you standing in the woods and panning your camera across an expanse to feel more in your life, I realized fading out is how we fade into each other, how we follow into one another.

Brother, I’m delivering this poem to you now, the way your mother, goddess of the heartbroken that she was, used to give me a brown paper bag filled with half of the food from the food pantry she depended on, and made sure I held it by the bottom before passing it through the window of the car and saying just take it and be quiet, so that I would finally feel what it meant to be supported without having to beg for it,

and to say I think Judy knew we would be like this, knew that even though I can’t a lot of the time, I’d want to take care of you the way you both still take care of me, knew someday we’d get old and have heart issues and stop trying to be beautiful so much and just admit we are afraid of fading out of one another as gently as we faded in. Fuck, I miss you already, I couldn’t love you more.