Back When My Brother Kept Me Afloat

Steve Smith

… I remember roaming the Hudson River shoreline with him searching
for buried treasure among the rusted car parts, old tires and broken
bottles and sitting on the marina pier as small waves lapped our feet
and we watched the tanker we called the Mud Sucker dredge the harbor,
leaving the strong odor of tar, dead fish and muck hanging in the air
the boat’s huge bucket thundering up and down into the water
with Manhattan in the background glittering like a stage set made of gold.

Remember him blackening the eye of the river gang bully who’d thrown
me down on the slimy rocks…and the winter he pulled me
from the river ice when I fell through trying to jump the icebergs
clogged along the shore and how we built rafts out of tree branches
and driftwood to float whichever way the tidal current would take us.

Now together again after years of disagreements and drifting further apart
while he worked one dead-end job after another, smoked two packs a day
and lived with a father who spoke only in punches and insults, I sit
in his hospital room, watching streams of blood rush through his heart
on an electrocardiogram screen… my love for him coming in like the tide.



About the author:

Steve Smith is a Poet/Artist from Pennington N.J. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts, he is retired Theatrical Scenery Painter.

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