This brother, that brother. This brother answered the door to a man who’d left his car running in the street with the headlights on. It was dusk. Trees showed their branches, and cable wires tangled themselves around various poles. Locusts made noise and street-playing children were called in for dinner. The man told this brother to get his mother, so this brother went and got his mother. She came to the door with hands on hips like she would do when concentrating on one thing or another, and the father came out from wherever he’d been and settled beside her. This brother raced to the back of the apartment. That brother was in his room. A music thumped and everything was everywhere. This brother told that brother that a man had come to see them, and he stood there until that brother told him to leave. This brother left. That brother followed. The man had stepped inside. He was invited into the living room. The brothers lingered outside it, hidden by a curtain. The man had brought over a situation to discuss. He said that that brother had dragged this brother into an alleyway behind the school that morning. He said that that brother had then tried to strangle this brother. The man wanted to know why one would be strangling the other. The kettle whistled, and the mother yelled, in the direction of everywhere, for this brother to turn off the stove. This brother removed the kettle from the heat and returned to where he’d been before. The man called himself a counselor. The brothers had reached school that morning with mud in their hair and blood on their skin. They had told them nothing, but their classmates, all willing witnesses, told them everything. The counselor had been called in. The mother pinched the bridge of her mountainous nose. The father flexed his massive hands. This brother, that brother. This brother knew that that brother could one day be a good man. But for now, that brother was not good at all. It was something in his blood, this brother believed, which meant that there something in his own blood too, though he did not feel what this something could be, at least not yet. That brother whispered something about the man, and this brother hushed him. Even though he knew that everybody knew where he and that brother were, he did not want them to know where he and that brother were. Both were thin, with mouths they’d have to grow into, and were in their second year in high school. In a year’s time, this brother would become a hulk with tanned arms like telephone poles, and nobody, including that brother, would bother him thereafter. For now, this brother slept with a stuffed animal named Go-Go, a ragged brown dog he’d had since the age of two, when he could not think of naming it anything other than dog. This brother fell asleep each night with Go-Go cradled beside him. The man had stopped talking. Someone shifted in a chair. Dust was on the sill. The sun was nearly gone. The school year had begun the week before. The mother looked to the father, who was grinding his fingers into his thighs. That brother stood up, while this brother remained seated. This brother remembered that brother pinning him to the ground that morning, knees on shoulders, saliva dripping from his lips into this brother’s nose. Their mother had always assured him of the day brotherly love would kick in, though no doubt long after she had passed from being. This brother, that brother. That brother asked, suddenly, startling this brother from the inhaled silence, if he remembered the names they’d been called when they’d first moved here. He said it had gone on for months. Freak this and Neanderthal that. This brother was unable to remember this period that that brother brought up, or the bus rides home with their tormentors a few seats behind. This brother pictured the names flung at that brother, pictured the fists that had followed. He could not remember any of them, names or fists, flung at himself. That morning had been a muddy one. The brothers had stood across from each other in the alleyway behind the school. A crowd had gathered. Their classmates’ cheers rippled through them. This brother did not move but stood with his arms out wide, open-palmed, his face asking What will you do to me now? This brother understood that this day had been no different for that brother, and pictured him high later on cheap pocket-lifted pot in the backseat of a speeding red car, his hands on the pale thighs of a tittering fourth-year. For this brother, though, the confrontation produced a new possibility, that one day one brother would kill the other brother. That day could be twenty years from now. It could have been that morning. It could be tonight. Dinner was delayed. A car parked in the street had been left running. Lights in lobbies had come on or been dimmed. A dog stirred near the gate at the end of the street. A father was explaining to a stranger sitting in his apartment why his sons who looked like trash would treat each other like trash. The man said something sharp in a clever way, because he was somebody who was sharp in a clever way, taking in the state of the apartment into which he had been invited. Before today, the brothers had had no idea of the man’s existence in their school. After today, he would continue not to exist for them. But he was there now. The father said My boys will always be boys, and did not rise when the man himself rose to go. The mother and the father. Embraced by twilight while framed in a doorway in the background of this goodbye. The man and his unfamiliar car rolled to the end of the street, where the sleeping dog kept its position. That brother came out from hiding to stand beside the mother and the father. Then their front door was closed to the world, which felt like a secret to this brother. A secret was the steam that curled from the father’s next words: Boys go where they are led. Secret was the reheated silence at dinner. Secret was this brother knocking on that brother’s door later in the night, it was the two of them standing face-to-face, both seeming younger than the other, one battling the world all at once, the other accustomed to waiting for battle to appear at his feet, this brother, that brother, this brother telling that brother, Brother, let’s finish what you started, his eyes lit up, punishing and proud. A general excitement, stirred up by the man’s presence, would permeate this brother’s regard for that brother from then on. He searched the eyes of that brother for this same recognition, knowing no such flicker existed yet, but would one day, and would hold him up the way the eye of a hurricane would a tree’s roots. But he did not want to wait. This brother would no longer wait for the other to find him first.