Elegy
(Lost Brother)

He was young, but not too,

And though his words dripped out

Leaving whiskey puddles which ruined

Carpets and our folks’ oak wood floor

He will be missed like a dog that nips

Or a car that’s cozy but oh so very

Worthless, like that scraggly cloud

That can’t rain or cover the sun

But is still a cloud. When he left we

Cried, but only for a dozen moments

And then we were fine as granite.

Because though he was man in some

Way, he was just a poster in the street,

Soggy, torn, faded red and sunken.

He died like most of them, somewhere

Built of cracks and leaks, a house stale

With dead words and smoke where

he could go to crumble and shake.

By then we’d forgotten hiking days

Or sea days or thunderstorms breaking

Overhead or watching tiny summer clouds

Or playing with our tiny biting mutt.

Instead he died young, but not too,

And his lungs were whiskey and salt.

I wonder where

He is.

 

Originally appeared in Old Red Kimono, 2015

© 2020 Jack Freeman