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My brother was a tough customer,
once confronting a sympathetic friend
who said, after our mother’s long illness
and death, Maybe it was for the best.
Michael growled, Maybe it wasn’t.
He once drank a few hours away
with Lee Marvin and complained
that Lee was unpleasant and obstreperous.
I recounted this to that same friend
who answered, What did Lee say?
But he was Michael the archangel to me
when I was out of money or friends
or full of enemies, one of whom
was a big 8th grade paperboy when
I was in fourth and who caught me in a garage
and roughed me up pretty good.
On his route with a load of papers on his head,
he wasn’t tough enough to scare Michael
who socked him so hard papers flew
like peace doves all over Fifth Avenue.
I could never return such a favor.
When death came after him,
I could only buy his favorite flowers for the funeral.
Years before Michael bought a mountain cottage
and immediately gave me a key. One Saturday we planted
daffodils all day which I can still glimpse, blazing,
as I drive by on Route 22, these many years later.
Copyright 2019 Jay Carson