No Longer There
When I stood, he stood. When I couldn't, he could
At dad's side day, night, tears, pain like an idol of wood.
Always there. He always cared. To hurt me, no one dared
His name was not known and his social stance alone.
Working. Just working. Listening to stories long
A mild laugh, a gentle tap and baby Liza's fever gone.
He plowed, picked and shucked the corn so dry
When dad couldn't pay, he walked from a cry.
Hunger, cold, and damp bed he had
Working like animal strength tiring the boastful lads.
Winking at mom her secret time
Practicing her speech that appeared as mime.
One day our dad was young, strong and able
He appeared holding a ewe and lifting up gable.
Living in hay never resting from his days
His face was laughter his hair was brownish haze.
Amy loved him like our uncle Jim
To see them together, you'd swear he was Jim.
He ate little at holidays rare
Chuckled at little brother's foolish, foolish dare.
A nip tonight a sting of tongue so dry
A dream of love only feeling her cry.
He walked away when love was near
To work for dad so we could be here.
Sun goes down on "his" obscure frame
Faded shirt layers of dirt and no kingly name.
His feet sore from inside his door
One dream was peace but not anymore.
One morning of a thousand mornings I walked
Down same rotting steps when I saw, I balked.
Dad was there, so was mom, baby Liza at play
Amy crying through fearful night into terror'd day.
He was not there. Not there to be seen
Not in his loft. Not behind his screen.
Not a yell could raise his voice
Just a pounding heart and lots of noise.
Why had he left? Where was he going?
Just questions. Just queries of someone knowing.
We had taken him for granted such a fool's sin
Dad's best pal, a silent friend among men.
Dad led us in a mourner's prayer
Little brother's mischief still no dare.
We stood in circle round and round
Grieving his absence silently cursing the ground.
© 2016 Kenneth Avery
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