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29 February 2012

About a brother


The photo spurs the memory,
the impression, of who he was
or who I thought he was.
Such errant boyhood innocence,
overlarge front teeth to be grown into.
His ears were handles, prepubescent
road signs of development,
of wait and see,
watch and wonder.
In my mind he is thin like Youth
because he was young.
Bookend to his family,
sprite of fun flitting from
one memory-in-making to another,
a tattoo inside of me,
ink in my brain of joyful prank,
of fruit-stained rocks and grid-iron screams.

Where on this line of memory, I wonder,
did the innocence fade?
When did the fa├žade replace
what had been genuine?
This photo in my hand exists,
has merit and is tangible testament
to what he was.

But here is truth?
We are what we have done.
That seems inescapable,
the logic of carpenters: foundation, frame, and finish.
We are every moment made.
There is no going home.

Yet I resist such rigid direction.
It carves cross grain.
We are not schooners pushed by one-way winds.
If you are made every moment,
You can remake today and on.
Step out of that picture, Brother.
Remember what was and forget what has been.

Overlarge teeth.
Handlebar ears.
You were beautiful once.
See, here, in my hands.
The boy in the picture was you.