My uncle is dead. We do not know why. We know not who to ask. We tap our shadows and close our homes.
My grandfather is inside the grandfather clock where my uncle once lived. The grandfather clock my grandfather is in is a grandfather clock that does not work. My grandfather can’t fix the grandfather clock so he nails together his fingers. To shake his hand is to pinch the grip. The blood becomes oil. The dark becomes dry.
When my uncle died, all of his guns were split between his brothers. They keep them in safes, away from birds.
My mother and father are in the living room. My mother is watching a show about knees. She needs another kneecap. Just last week they completed her eyes. She keeps her knee caps by her side. In jars. On ice. My father is holding a bowl of discarded toes. My father inspects each toe and writes the findings in a diary. Shingles, he writes. Frostbite. Each knee is like a closet, my mother says. Gangrene, my father writers. Lawnmower. He yawns. If the closet’s infected, my mother says, they have to fill it with gel.
My sister swims laps in our glass pool. I’m in my bed with my first seizure. I’m shaking down the stairs. I’m pushed onto a white sheet and told to keep quiet. I’m pushed through a tunnel and told to not talk. What if I shake? I ask. This is not the time to shake, they say, but I shake some more. They hook my brain to discarded tools. My sister lends me her blankets and her bags. I gather them like dolls.
My cousin is a chef, discarding every attempt. They’re not good enough, he says, never good enough, not even close. His apron is faded. Instead of KISS THE COOK, it reads _IS_ _HE _ _OK. Not good enough, he says, not good enough. Not like dad’s. The moon does not reply. We deny our doing the same.
In the evening, we speak of rosebuds, ones that grow from worms. My uncle is dead and we are sprinklers. We cry a nightly routine. To despair the slope is hopeful. Everyone tries to touch the chandelier. We watch the clocks that do not work. The sky above but a note on the page.