ON THE DECK
by Susan Donnelly
My brother holds out his hand, says look:
we’re made up of atoms and molecules,
right? And they’ve been existing
since the beginning of time. I don’t believe
anymore in an escalator to heaven,
like the one at Copley Place.
We smile at each other, out on the deck
at the Fourth of July family party,
everyone chatting around us.
A hummingbird stops in the air
by the red feeder. I mean,
he continues, turning from the party,
this kid in my running club
was a great athlete, Olympic material,
yet he’d train with any new guy
just to help him. At the funeral
all that God’s will talk made me mad.
I don’t see how it was “meant”—
a heart attack, at twenty-four—
that he’s in a better place.
But here’s what I think.
Maybe we all go on somehow,
through these atoms and molecules.
I mean, what we are goes on—like his energy,
the way he was kind—
he gestures, clenches his hand.
Oh, I don’t know. Let me get you another drink.
Copyright © 2007 by Susan Donnelly.