A Teenager's Denial of Mortality This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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My little brother wants to die
in a burst of fireworks,
scarring retinas
as he explodes across the sky -
except he didn’t say it
quite that poetically.
I try to be amused
when he says,
I want to die with a bang,
because it’s such a cliche
for a ten-year old boy
and because I can tell
that he’s lying,
even if he doesn’t know it yet.

But as we sit there
in a basement illuminated
by fake explosions
and shirtless movie stars
beating the s*** out of each other,
fear stirs
from where it coils in my stomach,
raising its head and blinking.

My brother is energetic, whiny;
wants to marry his classmate,
Rhiannon, when he grows up,
and play professional baseball.
The air around him crackles
with dreams, with life.
My brother is so alive
that when he dies,
I want to believe
that the world will die with him.

I decided today
that my little brother is immortal.
Don’t try to tell me otherwise.





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