Conversations with My Brother
For Scotty Nielsen
Forever-ness of death still stuns. But death
Does not let conversations end. I speak
Aloud sometimes. I listen, hold my breath.
The fabric torn, the picture incomplete.
At night I dream my brother back to life.
The smile’s not quite right somehow. The sleeve
I reach for disappears, just dust and night
And scabs and grit. I ask him not to leave.
I thought I heard your laugh; it was my son.
Sophia has your smile and Jack your way
With friends. The conversation’s not yet done.
How can it be with so much left to say?
I want to tell a joke I heard. I want
To fill your lonely heart, un-crease your brow.
The pain you felt, the blows you took still haunt.
I cannot reconcile the grief of now
With what you must have felt that final day.
I can’t un-stitch identity, un-sister
Myself and reconstruct with bits of clay
And random scraps. Instead I hold this list,
Your names. The conversation does not end
Dear brother, father, son and friend.