Thursday, 26 September 2013

When Your Brother Dies

Overheard: Insurance exec 1: Andy’s older than Rob, so they sort of have a father-son relationship. Like in Star Wars.
Insurance exec 2: I have a hard time seeing Rob as Luke Skywalker.  Are you sure he’s not Yoda?

Where it took me: I know slightly less about Andy and Rob (whoever they are) than I do about Anakin, Luke, and Yoda. The Internet, though, knows lots. I sat with the information from the online biographies for a few days. I knew I would write a poem about fathers and sons, but I wasn’t sure how. The death, in our family, of a cousin estranged from his parents and brother gave me a way in.

The poem

When Your Brother Dies

You are the only one left.
One man, an orphan, no spare.
But he was gone long before last night.
Over money, or power.

Or what an ass your father was.
This brother too big a personality for compromise.
This father too.
Each his own legend.

You are more Yoda than they ever were Anakin and Luke.
A diplomat. A humble man of practical jokes.
A speedy swordsman,
but not inclined to battle.

I exist outside the structure built
between father and son.
I don’t recognize its bricks,
can’t name the force that makes them crumble.

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