Brother’s War – Jan Stanek

brother’s war i


you do not make eye contact with me

when you break a stick over my head

and start to stab me with the jagged end

cutting through my pants and tearing these

huge gashes into my thigh


worse: you still won’t look at me

when i strangle you, pressing my thumbs down

just to let you know how serious i am

that i want you dead

dead-dead, for real this time, very different

from the time you dragged me down the stairs

by my feet, or the time you tried to stab me

with a knife


just you, me

my hands

and a sharp piece of wood



brother’s war ii


the shower we’re in is prussian blue

i’m trying to avoid looking at your dick

and you’re just trying to avoid looking at me in general

you’re telling me about white genocide

and farmers in south africa being killed

their wives gang raped and their children forced to watch


“that’s crazy” i say, soaping up your back

“no one’s doing anything about it?” i turn around

“yeah,” you tell me, staring at my back, or something else

“it’s because the ANC hates white people”

“what’s the ANC?”

“african national congress”



and when we step out and start toweling off

you trace a swastika in the clouded mirrors

then a sonnenrad

then a self-portrait



brother’s war iii


we’re both twelve years old and your friends are my friends

sort of: they’re mean to me, but not as mean to me as our sister

when i’m with you alone, i feel like i’m

the only person in the world who matters

when you’re with your friends, i’m basically a jew


mickey’s house is buchenwald

this is right after the time he made me eat dog shit

or the time he beat me with a belt in front of his dad

who was laughing at me

or the time he wouldn’t let me use his bathroom

so i walked home and pissed myself halfway there


sometimes we still share a bed

we both know we’re getting too old for this

you’re the world’s youngest most precocious neo-nazi


you do amateur genealogy: there’s a himmler in there

not related to THE himmler, but you tell me anyways

you climb further up the family tree, a few more feet

he’s jewish


you don’t take the realization that you would’ve been gassed very well