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Sooty Water Under the Bridge

05 May
I got my brother's phone call wiping a cabinet
my eyes went electric side to side
he said our father appeared close to departure
white as a sheet-like a death-mask 
though we had an inkling of the possible downturn 
but the head plays tricks 
with a child's idea, a rally 
might plant dad's feet 
back on solid ground

much to say, so little time
named Brian Junior
but growing up, my adoptive father 
and I were not close
I rehearsed the
goodbye speech 
for years I planned this eye to eye
to level with him 
but now I could be too late

for forty miles
the Mazda speedometer
fingered eighty and ninety 
passing cars as if parked
on the country back roads
against the relentless clock of
the last exhale and the lifted sheet 

I swung into the valet entrance 
below the sliding doors
my brother stood at the top
of the stairs 
face expressionless, the color of slate
I bounded out of the car 
breathless
asking 
am I in time 
the voice of my brother
like it came from a distance
the chest stab
a quarter-hour too late 
now Junior but
no Senior

four years before
he told me during a siesta
he preferred cremation
my brother and I did as he wished
over the bridge with the guardian statues
Hope Memorial
scattered dad's ashes on the Cuyahoga river
prominent Cleveland radio announcer for thirty years
born a Canadian but
devoted Clevelander to the end
 
we didn't seem to finish 
our issues
but yes, we did
 
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Posted by on May 5, 2022 in Poetry

 

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