Sunday Poem

The Cranes

Cranes lifting out of the marshland. . .
My brother brings his fingers to his temples
and then drops his hands.

Like that, he was dead.
The satin lining of autumn.
Oh my brother! I miss you now, and I'd like to have you back.

Hug you like a grown man
who knows the worth of things.
The mist of events drifts away.

Not in this life, I told you once.
I was given a different set of marching orders.
I planned to go mule-backing across the Isthmus.

Begone, though, if this is your idea of things!
But I'll think of you out there
when I look at those stars we saw as children.

The cranes wallop their wings.
In a moment, they'll fly true north.
Then turn in the opposite direction.

by Raymond Carver
from Where Water Comes Together With Water
Vintage Books, 1986