I could not tell what he looked like on his bier,
this boy I had loved, we all had loved.
There in the morgue's hallway I stood peering
as I could not bear to stand next to him
so I stood by the doorway watching his wife
caress his face for the last time,
make-up, you see, to hide the cruel wounds
on his forehead and wash blood from his hair.
My other, eldest brother's wife pointing here, there
at something she had missed through her tears.
This caring from beautiful women, he'd always attracted
that because he gave back as much.
In the air heavied with chemicals I tried
to imagine their labor, to bring him back,
that easy, contemplative sense on his face
remembering everything as it should.
His clothes hung on the wall, spotless,
creaseless, because he could not abide half truths
even in the worst of times, a spirit that tired
rarely, but perhaps wavered in a long breath
as on his wedding morning when I found him
alone, when he first told me a secret,
well the only truth of him I've kept for him
that he wasn't sure, for once, and it shook us both.
It never showed again after that morning
and I am still surprised by the spaces
we keep for ourselves and for others too,
hidden in plain sight till someone caring sees.
Like my two sisters in law looking
for spaces where they had found my brother
many times ago charming, thoughtful and handsome,
both looking here, there, to not miss anything.