A Few Words with My Recently Very Dead Brother by Grace Campbell

Hold up, because you didn’t say I promise, Janey. You never said I Promise. Did you do that on purpose? I said Promise me, Archie. I said Will you promise me and you said Nothing bad is going to happen to me and that settled the sanding disk turning my stomach into pulp. Then you asked about A$AP’s new album or 6lack’s new album or Kendrick’s newest album and it took me a few seconds to shift like maybe it had for you that night in your beater, that old Honda, going the wrong way down I-5 and I shifted on purpose, I guess. Because I thought talking about K Dot was what you wanted and I wanted to give you what you wanted. But I wasn’t wholly aware of the weight of what I’d dropped and we talked about verse and production value instead of you ending yourself and I see now that you did this on purpose and what about I-5, was that on purpose, too, Archie?

I tripped through the rest of our conversation feeling like I’d left something somewhere by accident but what really is an accident, see: car, see: shift, see: wrong way. Somebody tell me about accident, somebody tell me about on purpose, somebody tell me about purpose, somebody tell me what is the closest you can get to a promise without actually making contact and could you not have missed that other car by even a quarter of an inch, Archie?

But that night the week before you went the wrong way, you steered me toward features and mixtapes and alongside my Yeah, Yeah, my eyes trailed right and I thought I’m not sure we finished that last topic off and I wanted put it in neutral, go back to that question hanging unclasped for an answer but I couldn’t figure out what exactly I had wanted to ask and there you were, your mouth going ninety-five. And who doesn’t wanna talk about Kendrick, Archie? Who doesn’t think about maybe what’s the right way at that last minute when you’re head-on and you see the lights coming at you and you crank that wheel real fast, or maybe you don’t.

Grace Campbell was born, raised and educated in New York. She is the co-founding editor of Black River Press and non-fiction reader for 5×5 Literary Journal. Her work has appeared in The Santa Ana River Review, Spry (forthcoming), Ghost Parachute, No News Today and others. She currently lives and works in Olympia, Washington.

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