adam mosley

To My Only Brother

after Ellen Bass

Sometimes I wonder
what became of you.

Maybe parts of you are scattered
like long forgotten treasure—

stowed away in shipwrecked hulls,
confined to waterlogged coffins.

Sometimes I wonder if you’re waiting
to be found, in the orphaned feathers

all fledglings leave behind.

I remember your pupils—
they were the pin-sized black speckles

on a ladybug’s back. I remember
your newborn fingers—

they were the caterpillars
stripping leaves from stems.

I remember your mouth
flooded with flowers—

Rows of white petals
so bright—so bright they blinded me.

Now follow me—into the darkness,
let me tell you a story from our mother.

She said you were born with hair
the color of fire. A coarse and crinkly inferno.

Now I see your curls when I look to the sun
your hair is a plasma storm—raging in the sky.

You’re my candles flame, flickering free
illuminating the night. When I extinguish you

there’s no death—no demise. You become smoke
and mirrors, ethereal, and unbound forever.

I envy you for this freedom. You dance with the wind,
a formless figure—something like a skin-walker.

Here’s another story, brother: at one point we were
so similar. Both of us were adorned by amber brown

eyes, obsidian hair, ruby-red blood,
and nepheline nails.

Sometimes I wonder what became of you
but the answer is never straightforward.

When your answer reaches me it’s the ringing
in both ears, the double rainbows, and the orbs of light

that dart across my pupils.
I know it’s hard for the lost to speak

in the language of the living, but please—
please, I have a question from our mother:

“Tell me, what would you do—
If you knew you’d be the last to touch someone?”


Adam Mosley (he/him/his) was born In Long Island, New York. The seventeen year old is an emerging African American writer, one who often brushes on the topics of poverty, death, and doesn’t shy away from critiquing society in his writing. He’s a lover of expression and people; actively engaging with whatever community he finds himself in.