(for my sons)

One brother suffers, and another brother—
and then a third—is standing by his side.
This is the surest sign to any mother
by which her sons can be identified.

Not eyes of blue that make a sibling’s match;
nor cow-licked hair that sports the same brown curl;
not that they all watch films with Cumberbatch;
nor that they each pursue the same good girl.

One brother has been singled out to suffer.
Here is a certain sign the same womb bore them:
Two more arrive like angels—bigger, tougher.
And for this act of blood, all saints adore them.