To my brother, who left without saying goodbye
What did it sound like when you fell? How loud the thud that reverberated off the gym walls all the rest of that night must have been. When you hit the floor, already dead they said, the force broke your nose, spattered blood across your face and soaked your mustache.
In the hospital, your throat was still warm, but no amount of rubbing could warm your feet again. Your face was burdened with a bunch of stuff they used to try to revive you, but you, winsome imp, flash in the fire, fleet-footed brother of my heart, were gone.
What were you thinking when that stuttering heartbeat took your breath away, and started to take you down? The second they said you might've had to suffer before falling so fast you didn't try to catch yourself. Did you have time to bid your life farewell or even wince? Did you have a second's lucid shock?
When our "baby" brother called, I cursed unblinking death for taking you so outrageously. Then hung up and tore the phone out of the wall, opened the kitchen window and hurled it into the yard.
You were my polestar, my confidant, friend of a lifetime. I never had to speak the love you knew was there. And you always knew without a word the whimsy and the humor in my mind. How interested and wide-eyed as a child you went at life. How passionately you advised, and coached, and taught, and listened. I never got around to sending that poem draft you asked to see. I thought there'd be time at Christmas. I thought there would still be time.
What I wouldn't give now for one more hour of you.