I am overjoyed to be published by The Scribe January Anthology in Breaking Rules Publishing. I have four poems and one short story in this anthology. Thank you, editors Christopher Clawson Rule and Pattyann McCarthy. My short story “Joseph” can be read on my Website under Posts!
The Anthology is available here:
Joseph was always a precocious child. At the age of two you could find him staring at the old world globe on father’s desk. Joseph would crawl up on the chair, and slowly spin the sphere, stopping to examine certain features. He was especially fascinated by the poles, and the South Pole was his favorite. Instead of playing with blocks and coloring books, he loved to try reading the old Encyclopedia that were kept on the bookshelves. He would pull them down, one by one, in order, and page through with rapt curiosity. Anyone watching him would think that he was actually reading, or was he?
By the time Joseph was three and a half, and in day care, his peculiar traits started to emerge more fully. He always wanted to be alone, and never joined in on any play time activities. He already knew how to write his name, and could add, subtract, and could name almost any object. But, the most unusual ability he showed was his knowledge of the planets and basic science facts. Anyone who could manage to get him to converse, which was seldom, would think they were talking with a high school student, not a toddler.
Joseph did not like being called Joe or Joey, and would refuse to respond to anything but Joseph. It would upset him greatly. Of course, since he rarely responded to anybody, even us, his family, it was a moot point what we called him. You see, Joseph is my younger brother. He was our joy, and our sorrow. We knew he would have a challenging life as he entered adulthood.
By the time Joseph was five, he would climb out of his bedroom window at night, and lie on the roof, staring up at the stars. He could name many of them, and the constellations that they resided in. I would go into his room and watch him through the open window as his breath would rise in the cool night air and the steam would circle his raven hair like a halo. I would listen as he would call out to the stars. It was one of the few times I got to hear his beautiful lyrical voice. It was as if he was singing to some unknown entity in a far off galaxy. Perhaps he was hoping for them to come and rescue him from this mundane world that did not appreciate him.
Joseph continued to become more recluse as he grew older. He delved into his books and absorbed everything he could get his hands on. In school, he excelled in every subject. Math and science were his true love. He had many problems because of his lack of social skills, and was eventually placed in a Special Needs Program for advanced students. That did not go well. We were told that we should take him out of school and find a tutor that specialized in emotional disability cases.
Tragically, since Joseph never managed to learn how to interact with others, his education and any chance of obtaining a career were ended by the time he was fifteen years old. He was intelligent and wise, but could not live in the real world. His brilliance would have to shine in solitude, until it burned out.
Joseph is now an adult and still lives with mother and father. He still climbs out on the roof at night and gazes at the universe through eyes that see more than we can ever understand. Whether he is a saint or a savant, we will never know. e=mc² is etched upon his soul. He will live out his life, alone in our house. No one could ever save him, not even me. For I cannot even save myself. Someday in the near future, he will be my charge and I will be his caretaker. I am my brother’s keeper. I shall always be my brother’s keeper.