[Jeff is my oldest brother]
The first and usually above all frays
a cup of coffee in family of milk
remembering his first days.
When his younger siblings climbed trees
or threw knives from twenty feet
into the gomangani shed
He was already ready to run away
to be apart unassailable
the fence-free stray.
In the easy company of like-minded
abusers of substances and logic
the earth always simplified.
Reduced to yeah and nay he chops
the web of life into slices
served dry and ersatz.
His argument is the waving of a seive
letting water through picking up
only fallen brown leaves.
Once a protestor now an old man
never a boy now dottering
sitting not standing.
He only played games that he could win
a hermit in his own shell
prince in a tin castle.
I probably shouldn’t compare his apples
to my oranges perhaps we live
in two tiny glass houses.
His sons love him like a dad it seems
he must have his solid sides where
all I see are smoky dreams.
If I could shake his hand and hear his voice
could I blow away the distance of
fate and war and choice?
I’ve seen him three times in half a century
we both wish we had a brother who
was more than caricature.