Philip Hammial

(1937 - / Detroit, Michigan / United States)

Brothers - Poem by Philip Hammial

Home alone, late at night, doing what I always do. I’m rowing. Sitting on my kitchen chair, chained to an oar, I’m one of a hundred slaves making sure that the galley keeps moving forward through a sea that is sometimes calm, sometimes raging. Forward, to that distant port where, so rumour has it, we’ll be set free, at long last, after all these years. The others, my brothers in chains, sitting in chairs in their own kitchens in this huge sprawl of public housing, rowing ceaselessly, with a strength they didn’t know they possessed.

How much further? How many more days? It can’t be far. But what if I’m the only one who’s still rowing (the galley seems to have slowed down), the others simply sitting at their kitchen tables guzzling beer, munching on pretzels? Those lazy bloated pigs, of course they’ve stopped rowing. They’ve left it up to me. Some unspoken agreement among them to stop rowing. That fool in 108, he’s still flogging himself; he’s insatiable.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Poem Edited: Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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