When he died he weighed sixty pounds,
the paper says, and I go out of my way
to drive by the address where his brother
locked him in the closet, wondering at
the blue door, the flower boxes,
wondering where the fury started ,
how early and how hidden the first bruise
awaking like a bat, dark wings beating like mad
beneath his skin, the grudge pretending
to fold itself and go to sleep. Years later,
some old random gesture startles it awake.
For instance, when Esau finally staggers home,
hypoglycemic, clothes torn, hungry,
Jacob sees his chance. He buys
the old farm from his brother for a crockpot
of lamb stew. Jacob would tell you
how, from the beginning he was the oldest
anyway. We were twins , he’d say reasonably,
stirring the soup, Esau poked his finger out
first so they tied a red thread to it
But I was the first one out! Me! There are records
to prove it.
It’s hideous, when
you think about it, how everything followed
from that. You would like Jacob. Quick,
witty. He would flick his coat open
to show you the grudge, nursing like a bat.