counting the dead

a woman at work innocently asked
and where’s your other brother?

even after ten years I often cannot
bring myself to say he’s dead

so I said Minnesota instead,
which I think he’s probably laughing about

wherever he is or isn’t

saying now that I have one brother
feels false as soon as the words are formed

so there must be a way of counting the dead –
but until I find a math that works,

I have two – although one of them currently
is unreachable somewhere in Minnesota

© Sarah Whiteley

I really did say “Minnesota” though I don’t know what possessed me at the time. And he would be laughing over it, which makes me smile. But I still never know whether to say I have two brothers or one.


10 thoughts on “counting the dead

  1. Beautiful, Sarah, and this brings to mind if someone asked me about my Mom who has passed…I wouldn’t say that I don’t have a Mom because I do. She’s just no longer “with” us. So if I were in your shoes, I would still say “two.” These are only my thoughts and I love your humor through the serious tone…xx

  2. I once overheard this conversation: Q: “Where do you think we go when we die?” A: “Why do you think we have to GO anywhere?”
    Authenticity–truth–in a poem is so precious….this one is grand, Sarah

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s