David King

A Yardman Mourns the Loss of His Brother

After my brother drank
Half a bottle of antifreeze,
They found him slouching
In the cool shadows of the shed,
Dead behind an edger
And a collapsed rack of rakes.
I remember the way they came waving,
For me, his only relative,
Far out in my favorite field.
I remember riding toward them
On the back of the hustler mower,
Bouncing out of control on the seat,
Letting growling gears carry me
Alone to the back of the ambulance.
Even now, clearing out another field,
I remember him, the strongest man I ever knew.
Forty dollars a day is not much to work for,
But he worked hard for it anyway,
Letting every moistened bulb,
Every surging bloom excite him.
I think of him most now,
With the grass below me dying in drought,
And as my blades spin bright patterns of silver
Into summer’s browning lawns,
It comes to me suddenly
That he must have known long before,
How each of us sometimes yearns
For soothing peace,
The way a flower creeps quietly from earth,
The way the weeds, grasping, choke it down.

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