We're in the back of our father's minivan
en route to celebrate the kid's fifth birthday
at the sushi bar of his choosing.
He gives me the devious grin
that I know all too well, a sick sparkle
brooding in his eyes before he forms words.
"He's not your daddy anymore. He's mine."

The old man pretends not to hear it
possibly since he bailed on me for six years
the last two of which spawned
my loving sibling seated to my left.
Guilt's one hell of a motivator.
He's old, but isn't deaf.

It's the boy's mother who turns
from the passenger seat to scold him.
At first he pleads innocence
but when it doesn't work
he offers an apology
and reminds me of his affinity
for his one and only brother.

I can muster nothing
in the form of a reply
to any of his sentiments
so pure, so young, so wicked.
He's stunned me into silence
despite the gap in age.
There's a looming truth
that gathers in my forehead
like a storm:

The Vahsen mean streak
runs in blood
and skips no generations.

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