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Long Lost Brother ...

Posted Jan 14 2009 7:42pm

Long Lost Brother

I called your name many times, O brother
a dimly lit photograph, news clippings, maps of streets and towns
countries bearing your footstep
your face lies on my lap, in my mind
a profile of a man I see from afar
how I’ve longed to know you

the smell of your shirt has long since faded
like autumn leaves, the seat of your smile has turned gray
and ashes of days gone by cover what remains
I called your name many times, O brother
but spring never came
and my words just gathered dust

fish and water touch your hands more than I
when mountains, wind, and dogs
stand before a child
and the dirt and grass now cradle your bones
this is the way I know you now
my long lost brother

3-7-05, Moreno Valley, CA

I wrote this poem about my uncle, Theo, who was killed by a drunken driver fifteen years ago. He was in his mid-twenties then, and walking home from work at the Palau Hospital on the south end of the island.

I also wrote it as a metaphor of my relationship with my stepbrother, of whom I love dearly but see very little, and from whom I hear even less.

I dedicate this poem today to my biological father, who passed away Thursday, October 6th. I never had the opportunity to meet him although I was told he had remarried, raised five children, and became a principal of an elementary school on the island of Saipan, CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands).
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