Sons of Cain

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“Sons of Cain,” by Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley, appears in the Winter 2019 Issue of MQR.

Kentucky sky flints

the steel of storm heads

blue fields

our intentions

black I hurl the axe handle

all nine years of my elbow

into the bowl

of my brother’s orbital

socket crack &

thunder his good eye


he screams

& I sprint

field-long & ducking

each rock he throws

shears the soft heads

of bluebells

his rage outruns my fear

& when he catches

me with an orange of stone

caught in the crepuscular

muscle of wind

braids our long hair skyward

he crushes my shoulder

& long limbed I catch

his neck in the hollow

of my arm & the rain

speckles us purple

inside sheaves

of tall grass

wind song

his body’s breath pinned

beneath what muscle

I have grown

into the silence

of that dawn

the downpour

of his stoppered breathing

& before I understand

it is as if we are

in embrace

when his body gives


to my chest

there I walk up a hill

& look down

on my brother

the body

of his eighth summer

the earth spins

itself slow until

he wakes & I go

down to him & weep

in his arms

How did we get

all the way out here?

he asks.

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This poem appears in the Winter 2019 Issue of MQR.