A witness to that gray moment
In Cleveland, incised in memory,
Not a requiem, a vision:
Saint Teresa pierced with her arrow,
No! There’s no ciphering it.
Not your kiss; that came
Years later, etching an entirely
Distinct resonance, a soft, heady
Andante, but never quite the pitch.
It was in painting class, mythical
Forest of easels, aped inspiration,
Spreading butter on bread, aimlessly
Pushing hues around canvasses.
You’d just returned from Kentucky,
Your little brother gone,
The last, black and white silhouette
Icon near his sisters’ rooms.
Across the studio I’m stunned
By your wild-eyed bewilderment,
Vicious puncture through the breast,
Enormous tears on deluged cheeks,
Engraving indelible fissures.
Too young, too lucky, too oblivious
Yet to hear Death’s relentless dirge,
My empathy too naïve, my words,
Leaden lumps of useless ore,
(Eventually, he noticed and whispered
sad tunes through my days.)
Still, I recognized this grim chorus,
Harsh, metallic flavor on the lips,
Your little brother, little boy reflection
To another, my butchered innocence.
In that gray moment, now three
Decades past, I comprehend the bond.
My sister, when your fingers fly
Over the keys, you play for him.
Daniel David is a writer, artist, and professor living along the southern shore of Lake Erie in North America. His poems have appeared widely in a number of venues across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. His publications also include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior; chapbooks Close to Home and Two Buddha, and his novel, Flying Over Erie.