My brother died six years ago. I lit some incense tonight and I’ve watched it swirl and swirl and disappear, like his face, his voice, my memories. The thought makes me hate the smoke, and I hate the correlation I’ve just made. He will never be dead to me.

Sometimes I have dreams, and I can see him. My family is there, all sorts of family – cousins, second cousins, aunts and uncles and strangers. My brother walks through my dreams like nothing ever happened. He laughs quietly here and there. I can’t get through all the people that surround him and ignore him at the same time, everywhere I turn are elbows and backs, perfume, glasses, politeness. So much oppressive politeness. I can’t find my voice, I keep getting interrupted, until I force my hands somehow through the veil of this world and the next, always to touch his face. I just need to see his eyes. I scream at him, telling him I can see him, begging him to look at me. I hold his face in my hands and say, “How could you leave us? Don’t you know what it’s been like since you left?”. I tell him I died when he died. I ask him if he can see how shattered our family is. His eyes look like broken glass, like rivers of sorrow, but he doesn’t answer me, and I wake up. The veil always closes.

I wish I could write some lovely thoughts about closure, but I can’t. There is no closure. Maybe next year.

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