If anyone should ask who I was after I have left this place,
You’ll likely come up with the most self-effacing lie
Convenient to you at that particular moment,
For I was perceived to be an accessory to your greatest mortification;
As such, I could never be more than just a what-may-have-been,
A reminder of a lifetime unfulfilled, unrealized.
Your brother was simply a name to me,
A dimly remembered face
Among any number of names and faces;
But you, oh, you were every word I’d ever sung or spoken,
And I knew every subtle rise and dip in the bridge of your nose,
The shoreline of your eyes, every shade of shadow the sun cast on your face.
I could not be what your brother imagined or prayed I was,
What, in fact, you are to me, thus ensuring
I would always be, in some sense, in some sunken corner of your mind,
A broken promise to that broken boy, a sum destined forever to be in arrears.
Death is most charitable when it is final,
Once the defeated remains of the dearly departed
Have been neatly packaged, the papers filed,
The period placed on the end of the sentence,
For too often it rolls incessantly down the years,
Its effects no less corrosive, its whys and wherefores as insubstantial
As the air that sad boy kicked at in those final moments.
No service for us, then, no “closure”, whatever that may mean,
Only a continual repetition of the flinging open of the door, the strangled cry,
The blackened, bloated face staring at the pair of us, forever separate,
In mute and expressionless indictment.