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.

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Michael Donaghy

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1Caliban's Books

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2Our Life Stories

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3Irena of Alexandria

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4The Tragedies

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5Not Knowing the Words

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6The Excuse

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7Resolution

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8Tears

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9The River in Spate

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10The Drop

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11Black Ice and Rain

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12Reprimands

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13My Flu

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14Haunts

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15The Hunter's Purse

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16A Repertoire

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17A Reprieve

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18Down

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19City of God

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20Liverpool

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21The Brother

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22Held

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23Reliquary

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24Machines

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25Pentecost

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26Shibboleth

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27The Present

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28Southwesternmost

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29Alas, Alice

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30Refusals

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31Acts of Contrition

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32Cruising Byzantium

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33'Smith'

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34Annie

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35Local 32B

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Books by Michael Donaghy