Brother

Lord be with me

and he with Thee

as I cry this while

alone

of love

undone,

outgrown;

unleash the flow

of Abel’s tears.

Brothers here again

on Christmas eve,

recalled to the white-walled,

surface-souled home

where our kinship ripped

those many years ago:

Brotherly love,

together forever asunder,

stuck too damned far apart,

torn, across a chasm,

born of the irreversible flow

of Cain’s crooked cursewaters –

A bloodline contour

carving this once sacred place

of our waylaid namesake

into a wasteland of childhood damnation

riven thus for blame’s sake.

It’s Christmas eve

which means we’ve come again

to a narrow in this canyonland,

the gap but four feet between

each Other’s side,

the chasm too far to cross

but we too close to hide.

We are tonight again

a severed brethren,

sipping pinot noir

across a familiar family table,

the width of which

I’ve come to see once more

we’ll never travel.

On this, another so-called

holy night – the eve

of our Redeemer’s birth –

we resume this same hated,

insane but somehow sacred

rite of recalling just how

unredeemable this seems.

I tonight, cursed as Cain

and as Abel slain,

yes I, I, the one

you my father’s other son

know best, I shouting

long years

into this endless exiling sky,

I weep for a brother lost,

a brotherhood robbed,

gone and squandered –

Taken or given?

Or traded? -

together again at Christmas

to weep these lives apart,

riven, unredeemable.

The river’s run its cutting

course for far too many

rainy seasons.

You I love;

this hope I can’t believe in.

To touch you but to find

our selves forever disconnected,

and so to sit and cry

tonight for the bond

no mere holy day can make:

Together again, this bond

to break, and then

to what gain? And

‘til what age?

I’m weeping because

I’m losing now again

what I’ve hated losing

twenty years ago.

Where did you go?

Where did this go?

I’m here.

We’re here.

But it is so long gone,

so wrongly lost,

flushed forever past

and still in present passing,

rapids of sediment and stone

wrapping past this moment

in our own childhood home;

our kinship and the kith

which it floats in

are stained,

muddied brown and watermarked

by the signet curse of Cain,

and I’m flooded over afresh

by the torrent of a brother’s pain.

 

I love you, brother,

Though I doubt

If either of us will

Ever truly know this.

I love you

And I cry because

We may never live

As this were true.

Across this, our festive

Prime-rib-and-pudding

Christmas-table chasm,

I’m afraid we won’t traverse.

Accept this pity in my purse,

For you, my brother.

 

Did Abel really die

Or did they still

Pay each other visits

Once a year for Christmas?

Death or a curse,

What’s the difference?

Banished forever asunder

Or buried ten feet under?

We are living the brothers’ curse

For which this Christ

Was born,

And so I cry like nightrain

Until He comes again

To mend what’s torn.