Monday, January 28, 2008

Today is My Brother's Birthday

But I have no idea where he is. Why? Because he was adopted and his original birth certificate was replaced with a document that reflects only the names of his court-appointed guardians and that of his own reassigned identity. I wonder if they kept his first name of LeRoy? (I doubt it -- I'm sure that it was a little bit too country, a little bit too rock 'n' roll, maybe a bit too conspicuous for the neighborhood.) I wonder if they retained his actual date of birth (01/28/73)? I wonder if they even told him that he was adopted? (Told him that he has an older brother and an older sister?) Or if he was simply matched with people who were as pale and as blond as I imagine him to be long before he had a voice to object? To say that this day makes me mad, or sad, or angry, or despondent really doesn't do justice to the way I feel right now.

I want to burn things.

The Boyfriend took this photo last year on a weekend trip to Minneapolis (as he is a much better photographer). We drove by this bench at a bus stop earlier in the day, but I made him go back with me after dark to take a series of pictures, as it was the first time I had ever seen anything like this out in the world.

Today is my brother's thirty-fifth birthday and I wonder if he is happy. (Gay? Straight? OK? Alive?) Did I take the subway to work with him for years and years in San Francisco and not know it? Did we attend some of the same schools as children back in Albany? Will I pass him on the street later this week in Manhattan? Does he live next door to me here in Iowa? (Sometimes here in The Midwest, I think I see him a hundred times a day.)

The State of New York maintains that I do not have the right to any of this information, based on legislation passed in 1935 designed (it is purported) to spare us both from the shame of illegitimacy, and I think that's just fucked here in 2008.