Variations of a Brother War (Cabins Triptych)
J.A. Tyler

Our Cabin is Logs

Eliza's cabin is down from Gideon's cabin. We say cabin but they are houses. We say houses but they are torches at night. Underneath Eliza's corset is a pasture that doesn't need the plow or the prow or the horse. Gideon watches from his cabin down the valley and through to Eliza's lips, where he wants to live. Between Eliza and Gideon is a single flower and the expanse of the world. Between red openings and canvas neutrals is a spill of blood and fallen men. Bullets are a way of looking into cabins without having to knock their doors.

Our Cabin is Glass

Miller watches through a window and into Eliza's lungs. She is singing. Her lungs open with breath and close. One of Eliza's doors. The song that Eliza is singing is a song of flowers. The valley between them. Tiny white flowers on loose bending vines. The window is glass that will be blown out by the percussion of cannon fire. The clip of horse hooves and Miller's fingers tapping on glass, wishing himself inside of a valley that is Eliza. Miller sings back, the same song of rising up. One cabin down from another, with brothers in it, both looking.

Our Cabin is Sod

These roofs in a valley. Brothers and mothers. Fathers took their rifles. Fathers packed their feet in their socks, their socks in their boots. Burlap blankets, horses to trot. The rain waters the sod. The sod roots to the roofs. Eliza is for Miller a woman like his mother. Eliza is to Gideon the same. Miller and Gideon, these brothers. Eliza the girl down in the valley, outside of their cabin. There are more rifles to be taken. More feet to go in socks to go in boots to ride on horses. Eliza sings, and the song is a war.

J.A. Tyler is the author of ten books, most recently Inconceivable Wilson (Scrambler Press). Others from the Brother War series have appeared in Necessary Fiction, Gulf Stream, Knee Jerk, >kill author, and elimae.

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Detail of photo on main page courtesy of J. König.

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