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Hello Brother

by Zubair Ahmed
Illustration by Aimee Shapiro

Hello Brother

Zubair Ahmed
20 Snaps

I pick up an earthworm
And you shoot it with a rifle.
Mom screams at us
But we don’t listen.
She fed us expired milk this morning.
Sometimes in these Bengali summers
When dust sticks to our skins
And the crows shit on our heads
We bond like hydrocarbons,
Set mosquitoes on fire
And eat berries whose names we can’t remember.
We ride our bikes like metal antelopes
Like drunken sparrows.
We play cricket under the monsoon clouds
And you bowl a perfect leg-spinner.
It starts to rain
So I shoot down a cloud.
We take it back to Mom
Who kisses our ears and pokes our eyes—
She does that.
We get ready for bed
With our usual battles,
And you fall asleep
Not knowing I slid the alarm clock
Under your pillow,
Set for 3:17 a.m.

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