Article Title

Household Incidence


Ryan Bollenbach


It started in June when I watched my 6-year-old brother fall off the branch of the big oak tree in front of our house. The garden hose, tied around his waist for safety, slipped down his bony body and dropped him head-first, 15 feet, into the grass. He died just as the ambulance arrived, brain separated from spine. My family told me it wasn’t my fault, that I called the ambulance as soon as I could.We hugged each other. We wept. I triple wrapped each of my toes with rubber bands so tight they turned deep blue. I put my socks on. I never untied. My toes fell off and I placed them in a Ziplock bag and labeled it “penance” with a red sharpie. I put the bag in the ice compartment of the fridge-freezer combo I bought with money from my nursing home job. I filled the fronts of my shoes with extra socks to soak the blood until it coagulated, until it scabbed over...

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Household Incidence was originally published at Booth.