This isolation might have been the kind my brother felt one cold morning alone in his hotel room. The isolation enough to think it a good idea to pour the vodka on the carpet and to light it ablaze. And sit there watching it grow. The audacity. Finally something in his own control, yet ironically passed some discernible point, which becomes all to clear, uncontrollable. Flames sizzle while the bathroom fan continues its incessant rounding zzizah uh zzizah uh. The sounds of cars outside, engines starting, car doors slammed. Tires on asphalt. And to sit there watching. And wondering where all the promise went the balloons of childhood so high and wonderful in the light wind, the carefree feeling that should this one be lost — and an ardent hope that this would not be — there were always be others. Until there were not, and everything was not. Except for the bottles that gave him that promise back, briefly, high on a string riding invisible currents, above it all. Then this too was not enough. Too many strings. Too tethered somehow and the knots untied if only he could see them. To help, me empties himself out again and again, and scratches a light to a blaze to see what his hands and eyes no longer recognize. Hotel rooms and promises. There all the same until they’re on fire.