The Brother

The Brother

Dropping a canape in my beaujolais
At some reception, opening or launch,
I recall briefly the brother I never had
Presiding at less worldly rituals:
The only man at my wedding not wearing a tie;
Avuncular, swaddling my nephew over the font;
Thumbing cool oil on our mother's forehead
In the darkened room, the bells and frankincense...
While the prodigal sweats in the strip lit corridor.

Now, picture us facing each other, myself and the brother
I never met: two profiles in silhouette,
Or else a chalice, depending how you look.
Imagine that's this polystyrene cup.
I must break bread with my own flesh and blood.


from Remembering Dances Learned Last Night (Picador, 2000), copyright © Michael Donaghy 2000, used by permission of the author's estate and the publisher.

Recordings

Michael Donaghy Reading from His Poems

1Caliban's Books

2Our Life Stories

3Irena of Alexandria

4The Tragedies

5Not Knowing the Words

6The Excuse

7Resolution

8Tears

9The River in Spate

10The Drop

11Black Ice and Rain

12Reprimands

13My Flu

14Haunts

15The Hunter's Purse

16A Repertoire

17A Reprieve

18Down

19City of God

20Liverpool

21The Brother

22Held

23Reliquary

24Machines

25Pentecost

26Shibboleth

27The Present

28Southwesternmost

29Alas, Alice

30Refusals

31Acts of Contrition

32Cruising Byzantium

33'Smith'

34Annie

35Local 32B

Books by Michael Donaghy