My Brother, Solar Eclipse, 1965

              by Daniel Lawless

from Family Photographs 

In a few months, doctors, ECT, the iron gates of a sanitarium.
But for now, your half-smile says, relief -- to be eleven  
And unconcerned for once with friends, their bikes, the Cubs, who punched who.
How good it must’ve been to become for even these few minutes 
A cruel monster or a ghoul by yourself, to turn enchanted
From the murmur of neighbors gathered 
With their highballs and hair on the deck behind you 
Toward this ominous cloud burned sepia, orange;
In this fleeting midday twilight to feel yourself disappear inside yourself —
To cast no shadow. And then – our last visit so long ago, 
Michael, how had you put it? -- the delicious insistent thought, 
What if it stays like this?  To yearn and yet not to know yet
What that yearning meant.
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