The day my brother thought he killed a man
he found solace in nothing real,
not in the armory of family,
not the tightly coiled highway we’ve driven
our entire lives, back & forth
over the rifle-narrow bridge,
past the lake full of boats with skiers,
past the lake full of island shores in drought years.
My brother has always loved fast cars
& lonely highways, Steve McQueen’s Bullitt Mustang,
cruising Saturday morning full of sleep,
eggs, & maple-sweet bacon, a day
He is the boy who offers his jacket in winter,
the man who forgives
our two fathers for not loving us enough.
I imagine my brother as Samuel Beckett,
not the legendary writer, although my brother is legend to me,
but as the neighbor who gave Andre the Giant
rides to school after the 12-year-old realized giants,
even kids trapped in giant bodies,
were not allowed to ride the school bus.
The day my brother thought he killed someone
an 80-year-old man rode his bicycle
without a helmet, without care, down that highway.
There was impact: bike, car, body—
What are the odds? Not that two men were on the same lonely
highway of the same small town,
but that they would meet at that moment,
when their only ambitions were to survive a day
without tragedy, one day to believe in healing,
not the falling away of everything like rag dolls,
like stale feed sacks left to the weather,
a feast fit not for working horses but goats & pigeons,
a feast fit for poets trying to inscribe
their lives with the pursuit of truth & beauty
only to end with the rubble of the personal,
some quick & lonely helicopter care-flight
to the closest big city.