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Shann RayAugust 17, 2023

1/ We who are brothers
will live forever.
You held me when we were young.
Older, when I saw you in pain
I placed my hand on your chest
to free you from sorrow.
   The river south of our single-wide trailer
       was deep and marred with deadwood.
      The future was like the crow we found
      neck askew in the barrow pit, or the two
      black oiled feathers we lifted
       and silently placed in our pockets.
            Miraculously, we made it into life
          and the blessing
          of children. I still picture us going out
into the world like warriors, your jawline an arrow,
and how in the evening we would lie on our father’s bed,
our feet made of clay when he turned our wrists, gently,
in order to kiss the lifeline.

2/ His kiss was not unlike the kiss of God,
           the imprint on our wrists our bond and
         also the hint of the unforeseen.
           Now that he’s gone, and now that you’ve
           taken your life
         I’m reminded how you said God dwells
          in the thick darkness and how
         in the Beartooth Range
           each winter was followed by our father greeting us again.

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