Kids have their own Code of Hammurabi.
“Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.’’
“Do not let the cat out of the bag.”
282 ancient Babylonian laws:
“If a house collapses, the builder is liable.”
“A purchased slave with epilepsy may be returned for a refund.”
My brother has epilepsy.
The doctor called them absence seizures,
brief loss and return of consciousness,
condition once associated with genius, the divine.
Other boys played football, he was not allowed.
That ruined him. R-U-I-N,
the act of giving way and falling down.
He carried a cardboard briefcase, sold greeting cards door-to-door.
“Do not call attention to yourself, fit in, look normal.”
One bad day my brother walked into my third grade class,
stood frozen, stared, could not answer the teacher.
Each time a little death.
I kept my head down, studied my lesson,
pretended I didn’t know him.
Spelling words swirled and blurred.
You get a nickel if you return a discarded soda bottle.
I wondered what my brother would bring.
Bio: Kelly DeMaegd is a Pushcart-nominated poet who has been published in Vox Poetica, Your Daily Poem and Bloodshot Journal of Contemporary Culture. A supporter and participant in the monthly meeting of Poetry Hickory, regularly contributes to and facilitates Art of Poetry at the Hickory Museum of Art and is a contributor to Winston-Salem’s Poetry In Plain Sight. Her first book of poetry, Wish and Spit, was released earlier this year.