BEB: Dear Half Brother

by sienna brancato

Dear half brother,

Or, dear kid my dad just told me he had

with a 30-year-old woman he’d known for six weeks

when he was only a little bit older than I am now

Or, dear Tony “Savage Poet” Davis,

around 38 years old,

from Kingston, New York,

lives in Coral Springs, Florida,

married to Jayme Orr Davis,

Tony,

Apparently we’ve met?

When I was a toddler,

and you, 18, my little brother’s age now.

Apparently you looked at me

before I could remember anything,

and apparently you see me, even years later—

You requested to follow me on Instagram last week.

Your bio says “To God be the glory.”

#SavagePoet #hiphop #soul

You are a musician,

a poet, too,

aren’t you?

How strange is social media

that I can learn our similarities

without ever speaking to you.

I can see my dad’s eyes,

his pre-rugby nose,

his gentle smile reflected in your face.

And it’s a little unsettling

the resemblance between us.

Do I feel connected to you?

Or is it just surface

How do I reconcile the concept of fatherhood

when our fathers are so different, yet exactly the same?

My dad, the dedicated middle school sports spectator

My dad, the movie watching buddy

My dad, the record collector

My dad, the constant source of support

Your dad, wasn’t ready for you

Your dad, fulfilled all the legal obligations,

But your dad, absent

And I know it’s not that simple

I’ve heard the stories

But how can one person, same father figure,

play two completely different roles

in two people’s lives?

As you can see, this doesn’t just weave together artistically—

it’s messy

My dad sends me a random text message today:

“Was reflecting on how you are two years older now than I was when Papa passed.

I know it sounds morbid-- but not meant to be.

Think it’s just an Existential inquiry.

Lol Can ya tell I miss you?!”

And I think about the cycles of fatherhood,

My dad losing his own dad at 19

and then becoming a father

(in name alone)

only a few years later.

And I having just turned 21.

And in your wife’s profile picture,

you stand behind her cradling her pregnant belly.

She holds a sonogram, a promise,

and wears a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “Mama Bear.”

You have at least one other daughter,

10 years old, as your Instagram announces.

I read how much you love her,

and I wonder about how it just goes on,

how fathers are here and there and everywhere

and nowhere all at the same time

And my dad didn’t choose you

But how much is it a matter of choice?

Who gets to choose when to be a parent?

Who gets to opt out?

What does opting out really look like?

What does it mean for me to choose to know you?

How did you choose to try to know me?

How can we really connect?

My current Facebook profile picture is of my dad and me, smiling,

his arms wrapped around my shoulder,

the resemblance strikingly clear

so then,

I accept


Michele Dale