The season of the crepe myrtles had come and gone
we rode in silence that day he and I.
His face and mine were pinched and drawn
cloud-filled as was that late evening sky.
Houses passed as we traveled that dusty road.
A faint scent of honeysuckle tickled our noses.
Our hearts were laden heavy from bearing the load.
I spied the remnants of someone's late summer roses.
His hand found mine and I smiled a thin smile
trying to pretend the pain was not there.
He said, "Won't be long now. Just one more mile."
I shrugged indifferently. Sometimes life isn't fair.
He pulled our Ford truck into the next driveway.
It was not a house that I had ever journeyed to.
So many thoughts, so much I still wanted to say.
It seemed like a nightmare, a lie, just not true.
Dust lay on the furniture and clothes adorned the floor.
Time to go to work, time to clean, time to forget.
But the voices in my weary head were hard to ignore.
A moment of self pity, a lifetime of regret.
His presence was strewn throughout his humble home.
There were piles of papers, pictures, his bible, his clothing,
his car keys, his toothbrush, his razor, and his comb.
Soon my heart was filled with anger and bitter loathing.
Why him I thought as the voices grew stronger?
What did he ever do to die so young and alone?
I could not remain, I could stay there no longer
so I dropped to my knees and let myself groan.
"I am so sorry," I cried to the ceilings and doors
"that I never came by when he was still here.
I was always so busy with two dozen chores.
Why this all happened is totally unclear."
So young he had been and so filled with life.
He was barely a man. He was still a young boy.
Was the heartache too much when he lost his dear wife?
There's no longer any laughter, no longer the joy.
The beer in his ice box was bitter, but cold.
We drank one and toasted my brother's kind soul.
I remembered the horror when the news we were told.
His lifetime was over and he'd reached his goal.
I looked about his home that late summers night
a shell now empty, a place not quite complete.
I shuttered the windows and turned off the light
and walked away slowly into summer's last heat.
Yet as I turned to close and lock the front door
I heard in that darkness one final good-bye.
A sound so audible, so near it was hard to ignore.
At that moment I could finally cry.
"Glad you came Sis! Please come back soon,"
His deep gentle voice did say to me.
"I will," I whispered beneath that full moon,
"I'll find you again wherever you might be."
The season of the mum would come and go.
The honeysuckle blossoms will blacken on the vine
and you will sleep beneath winter's pure white snow.
Yes how I will miss you dear sweet brother of mine.