by Nancy Huggett
Vlad is writing an essay on validations versus invariants.
I look it up. Some programming term
that even when parsed I don’t understand.
Vlad shows up most mornings, here on my screen.
We’re virtual coworkers, virtual being the only thing
that links us. He reminds me of my brother Bill.
Shaved head, broad shoulders,
pointy nose, hooded eyes, sly grin.
What validations would my brother write?
If he were the kind of person to write validations.
Which he was not, slamming doors, breaking bowls,
stealing diamond rings and Moët & Chandon
from our parent’s cupboards. Fuck off, I’m fine.
I’m fine, fuck off. I don’t need
your love. I am worthy of
your love. I hate
your love. I am worthy.
I am loved. That’s it.
That’s the only validation
that ever makes sense.
Did that come, finally? As he lay between two houses
having gone to rescue the stray cat,
felled by his one link to his birth parents–
a faulty heart, his own faulty heart.
You are loved is what matters.
Is what I whisper when I see Vlad,
who reminds me of my brother.
Who is dead.
You are loved.
Nancy Huggett is a settler descendant who lives, writes, and caregives in Ottawa, Canada on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg people. Thanks to Firefly Creative, Merritt Writers, and not-the-rodeo poets, she has work out/forthcoming in Braided Way, Citron Review, Five Minute Lit, Intima, Literary Mama, Pangyrus, Poetry Pause, Prairie Fire, Reformed Journal, (RE) An Ideas Journal, and Waterwheel Review.