Brother, at your grave, we stood gathered
under Thanksgiving trees bare with wind.
When the words had been said, I expected
silence to resume. But your pale fiancée placed
an incongruous stereo on your new earth,
pressed the red button and the brief world
opened to song. I stood amazed as music broke
forward. Stunned, I imagined your young joy.
Rocking music at your grave. For quivering
minutes, the neighboring stones throbbed
with tempo and movement. I watched her.
Her black clothes gone softer at the lapels,
she stood with a tender look, her arms out-
stretched sideways, an old friend holding
her one arm, perhaps her father holding her
other arm, her face turned sideways, gazing
down, her expression blanked of the world.
For those bars of refrain, we became held
boxes of rain—what do you want me
to do, to do for you to see you through—
a measure of rhythm in which we could sing
among stones gone to time, in which I could
hold your woman as a friend—as a brother—
would, and we could sway to your life.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.