Once in a while we should say what is

November 3, 2015

I was pawing through a shelf of books the other day
When out fell a note from my late brother in his tiny
Adamant wry inarguable crisp half-cursive-half-not
Handwriting, and just for an instant I saw and heard
Him at his desk, in his study, his mustache bristling,
Black coffee half-cold, the burl of his body wrapped
In the arms of the chair that held him for thirty years,
A chair as big as a horse and twice as heavy. I heard
Him, I tell you, I did, and I saw him, half-shadowed,
Scribbling notes: his philatelic pursuits, notes for his
Class next week, notes on a book he was going to do
About Benedictine spirituality . . . then I was only me
By the bookshelf again. But for a second I was in my
Brother’s study, watching him. It was late, everybody
Was in bed, but not him, as usual he was up late with
Coffee. He was wearing a sweater. The scritch of his
Pen. His shoulders like boulders. The dim procession
Of his books, organized by genre and author. He died
Three years ago. But I saw him, absorbed, thoroughly
Attentive, scrawling notes. There’s way more possible
Than we think possible; possible turns out to be a verb.
I don’t know how else to explain things like this. They
Happen all the time to all of us and we hesitate to gape
About them publicly because the words sound like pap,
Miracle and epiphany and vision, you come off as nuts,
A religious goober who talks to owls and addled saints.
But you know and I know that this happens. I guess we
Will always understandably be hesitant to chat about it,
Which is fine, as no one enjoys being labeled a goober;
But once in a while, like here, we should admit that it’s
Real, and it happens all the time, and it’s scary and cool.
That’s all. Once in a while we should gently say what is.