Will Harris

Will Harris

From Brother Poem

it’s a funny 
word to say or 
to address to you as if 
you were here because if you were 
I wouldn’t be saying it that’s what’s funny 

more a question 
than a name with the 
implication being do you have a brother 
what does your brother do where is your brother

a frozen word 
like being on the other 
side of a locked door one of 
those walk-in freezers where they 
hang big slabs of meat brrrrr I’m outside 
standing by the air-tight door whispering through 
each steel hinge what was that you’ll have to speak up
I can’t hear a word you’re saying no I can’t hear anything 

One morning my door 
   handle stared back at me 
       vacantly its horizontal 
           gaze like glass 
       unable obviously 
   to tell if I was sitting in bed 
           making eye 
   contact with you since from 
          its flat perspective 
everything was past we might 
   as well be playing with 
      our blue diplodocus 
         taking too long 
            in the bath sharing 
      equal blame for our 
   parents’ sad happy fates 
      knowing no future 
             existed and 
        neither did we

And as 
I walked on
though my life was 
broken yes my voice was 
heard and it my voice I heard 
in a little corner of the room saying 
I’ll walk with you and leave you with me

Repulished with the kind permission of poet and publisher. This extract is taken from Brother Poem (Granta, 2023).

WILL HARRIS is a London-based writer. His debut poetry book RENDANG (2020) was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His second book of poems, Brother Poem, is published by Granta in the UK and by Wesleyan in the US.