Over rights to the experience, a contention. Looking my brother in the new face (afraid and hard). And mom, thin on the plastic IKEA chair. My hands are on his, both sets on the trimmer.

It's cold—it's night and it's cold on the back deck. The refrigerator's full so there's a case of Victory by the kitchen door. A bellyful of piss.

I peel off his fingers and tell him to go inside. Be nice to him, she says. The trimmer claps to electric life. She holds her breath.

God, I'm so gentle with it. Each curl falls to the deck. Some hair falls on my feet, and some makes it through the gaps between the cedar planks to where the cats sleep. I wonder if later they'll smell it and think of the woman with the dry food and tap water.

There are cars on the pike. I sweep the gray-brown pile to the corner of the porch and kneel beside it. Pick it up in fistfuls and squeeze. She's staring at the February dogwood. There's his shadow in a second floor window.

Later, when there's a lock in the cuff of my jeans, and I'm crying at the bathroom mirror, I'm disgusted by a thought: I look good like this (wet eyes and scarlet cheeks).

A black dress you borrowed from a girlfriend hangs on the door hook. And you're asleep when, at 3 AM, I creep into bed. Remembering a fight with my brother, if you ask what's been keeping me up.