Writing on Air

The first time I entered his empty room
I stood in the silence

of the hospital bed, his white cup
still on the tray, remembering the day

I found him, my older brother,
in the front room on Canal Street,

his back to me, writing
with his finger on the air,

unaware I was watching him move
from left to right down an invisible page,

pausing, striking out a line, revising,
until he turned and asked me what

was I staring at, was I catching flies
with my open mouth, then rushing

past me into his hidden life, leaving
me in that quiet room, dust

rising through slanted light, all those words
hanging heavily in the air.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Catholic Relief Services delivers seed and farming tools in Central African Republic in 2014. Photo: Kevin Clarke.
The impact of the Trump foreign aid reductions, if enacted, “would be swift, devastating, and felt for years to come, imperiling millions of lives and the course of global development, stability, and partnership.”
Kevin ClarkeJuly 26, 2017
An explosive device was detonated outside the offices of the Mexican bishops' conference, directly across the street from the country's most visited religious site, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. walks from the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, as he steers the Senate toward a crucial vote on the Republican health care bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Republican proposals “exclude too many people, including immigrants,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said in a statement.
Without quite knowing it, I had begun to rely on the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
Elizabeth BruenigJuly 25, 2017