Brother – Poetry by James Mulhern

George Romney – The Artist’s Brother James Holding a Candle

On our way to the dance, we made a fire under the bridge.
Snow fell outside the darkness of our shadowed space.
We sang about the bottles of beer we raised with gloved hands.
You lay your arm over my shoulders. Your face glowed in the flames.
Twigs crackled and bits of paper rose in the smoke.
Snow glistened under the streetlights beyond the bridge.
In a while we’d step into the cold brightness but for now
I loved the dark space, the circle of fire, and our song.

In the blackness of my bedroom, sometimes a fire
blazes and I see our pink faces before the flames.
I hear our voices and the sighing of the wind.
Your arm crosses my cold neck and hugs my shoulder,
and I dream we never stepped outside our hallowed space.
The snow was so cold and the streetlights too strong.

About the Poet

James Mulhern has published over seventy times in literary journals and anthologies. In 2015, Mr. Mulhern was awarded a fully paid writing fellowship to Oxford University in the United Kingdom. That same year, a story was longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize. In 2017, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His most recent novel, Give Them Unquiet Dreams, is a Readers’ Favorite Book Award winner, a Notable Best Indie Book of 2019, anda Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2019.

For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.

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