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,
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,
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—
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