they Give Him a Medal When His Parachute Fails to Open

by SARAH KAY

 

Somewhere over Georgia my baby brother steps out of an airplane and begins to fall / here I am saying a poem about him again that he will not hear / it is loud / falling out of an airplane / I assume / is there any / body / that I hold more of than his? / Is it the heaviest weight I carry? / by now he has pulled the rip-chord on his camouflage chest / my baby brother whose body I once carried / around the dance floor / like he was my favorite toy / my baby / brother with a camouflage chest / impossible to find / when I checked / the sky is carrying him now / I try not to write him any more sad poems / so he will not have to hold any extra weight / if the parachute opens / the sky will yank him backwards like it does not want to let him go / if it doesn’t / there is an emergency one / I am the emergency / one / brother with the heaviest poem / one / airplane with the emptiest mouth / one / Georgia with the hungriest dirt / one / sister with the greediest heart / he has been failed before / he has been trained so he will not panic / when the first one does not inflate / he knows the second one will hold / but it is smaller / he falls faster / I was the first one to refuse to unfold / he learned it from me / baby / brother / the poem was always my parachute / I jumped and landed soft / I am always standing heavy now / looking at the sky / searching for you behind me / yelling / open / open / open /