a few years ago before we were so worried about
Russian intelligence taking our identities and
deep faking our decisions
before we had forgotten the definition of
or redefined it at least
there was an online game where
you’d upload a selfie and the app
would generate your face
opposite gender

and no matter how many selfies
I tried to upload
or angles I tried to get right
there was never a fabricated face
that looked as much like male me
as my brother already

so when I say I see myself in him
fast talk and foolish hands
charismatic criminal
caution to the wind
what I mean is I was there when he learned
to ride a bike
what I mean is we have the same cheekbones
sloping nose
mine imperfectly feminine
his perfectly masculine
the same set jaw
lines beside eyes
lies upon lies
tattooed arms and
traumatic backgrounds

when I say he’s magnetic what I mean is
don’t you like me?
aren’t I enough?

I’ll never forget his face set in stoic
suspense and self deception
minutes before my protection order was granted
and I’ll never forget what it feels like
to be afraid of a brother
because I have been now

I do not revel in his estrangement
because there is nothing strange
about his features
his lies
his manipulations
his compelling energy and
the passion with which he speaks and believes himself to be
nothing strange about the
darkness he holds in his gut
questions he asks about his worth
self doubt and I are are well acquainted
and I’ve wondered at the wrath my own
wellspring of energy can wire and deliver when my worth is challenged

don’t you like me?
aren’t I enough?

we’ve both looked down at the bottom
of the same empty bottle
and we’ve both seen the same eyes

when I say I love him deeply
what I mean is
I held his newborn body against my chest
and felt nothing but pride

how can someone so familiar
be both exactly you
and a stranger