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Hot Tin Roof:The Left Come Back


by Ted Kehoe

The Left Come Back

I am in love with your brother.
All those years he followed
now left behind.
He has forgotten we lost him as the Wolfman
trick-or-treating.
He has forgotten we stepped
on a horseshoe crab at Crane Beach
(we left him on the shingle with spade and pail)
and told your father—cornflower trunks, brassy chest hair, angry red skin, raising the cracked, antediluvian helmet like war dead—it was him.
No more does it matter
in school
he was left back.

The radio speaks in his patrol car.
He drinks coffee fit for a child—
thick and sweet as frosting.
His gray scalp is wealed by a scallop of white scar.
He was made to eat war like the others.
He joked about Hajis,
kept mum about the boot he found
full of foot.
He is not you.
He wanted to stay behind.

All that noise made him quiet.
There is something in my head
when I think of there,
like a fever dream—
the murmuring of strangers in shadow,
the heat,
the low black sky,
the earth blank as a stadium lot.
I feel the thud and gush
in dreams
of explosions.
My privates thrum.

I am not wed to danger,
but two-hour parking,
and bicycle-safety lectures for the junior high
and keg parties busted under Echo Bridge.
What is it like for him
again
to hunt in the dark?
Does he thrill with anger
now that he is back?
Because laughter is the same in any language.
Here, too, flame throws shadows on stone walls.
But he is different, your brother.
Sorry.
I love him for the change.


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