JA Tyler – Variations of a Brother War


Variations of a Brother War ( Pretendings Triptych )

Where the Vertebrae Are

Eliza tells Gideon I don’t love you but Gideon does not believe her. Gideon dunks her head in the river and pushes sand into her mouth and makes her stomach a muddied lake. Gideon pushes coins into her palm until she feels whorish and then waits for a bed to unfold from the trees. Gideon does not believe her lack of love and so in his mind he makes this happen, so that at least in their imagination she will know what it is to feel unrequited. And Eliza does love Gideon, which is what makes the world an untruth.

Where the World Is

Eliza tells Miller I don’t know how to love you and Miller knows the truth. Miller sees the waver in the sky, the clouds that cover his heart. Miller bows to be closer to the ground. Miller holds her hand in wait because he is not quick, he is not muscles, he is stooping, waiting, he is quiet wanting. Miller carves his name into a tree. Miller carves Miller &, and then wanders, his knife tree-stuck. There is weeping in Eliza’s bed and there is no relief in others’. Miller’s hands are walnuts. Miller’s hands are only good for holding.

Where the Valley Goes

Miller says to Eliza I love you. Gideon says to Eliza I love you. And neither of them knows what the other has spoken, what should only be thunder or lightning when it is raining. Instead it is autumn, leaves falling, and the brothers watch from their cabin window, a mother behind them, baking her bread, Eliza hanging clothes on a frosted line. I love her Miller says and Gideon says I love her too, and then they know, even though each only believes what it is that he wants, creating suspense in truth, holes in a fabric of knowing.