My brother is cottonwood. He stands on his favorite toe, eyes ground-touching yearning the sky. My brother is a boy. I say, “give it up, you don’t deserve it.” “Go away, woman.” he says. The day I cropped my hair short he tried to take it from me. That’s how he knew. Everyday I cut off a longer inch until there is no longer. Mother and Father have no idea. My body is fluid, my mind an octopus soaked in irreversible paroxysms of hope. One day. I speak with my tongue as her eyes suck me in, her eyes the eyes of my Mother but elaborate as the eyes of a liar. She doesn’t know yet what’s underneath. One day. I heard my brother scream one day. He is not yet ten but he sees it better than anyone. “Stop it.” he says. I wish. It is a birthmark a curse from the next life a silent burn below your skin. You cannot stop because it is the way it is. I cropped my hair short. Her smile is full of teeth and a certain brand of understanding. “You don’t understand.” Her heart is your heart is the iron lining of my dreams. Brows thick and one like raven’s wings. I give up.