from Deaf Republic: 13. For My Brother, Tony Poem by Ilya Kaminsky

from Deaf Republic: 13. For My Brother, Tony

Love cities, this is what my brother taught me
as he cut soldiers' hair, then tidied tomatoes
watching Sonya and I dance on a soapy floor—
I open the window, say in a low voice, my brother.
The voice I do not hear when I speak to myself is the clearest voice.
But the sky was all around us once.
We played chess with empty matchboxes,
he wrote love letters to my wife
and ran outside and ran back, yelling to her, 'You! Mail has arrived! '
Brother of a waltzing husband, barber of a waltzing wife
(I do not speak, you do not speak, we
do not speak, we do not speak, we do not)
waltzing away from himself
on Vasenka's warm bricks—
he blessed us with his loneliness, a light winged being.
'Your legs stick out of your trousers too much! '
—Tony, yell at me. I need propping up
in this hairy leg business. A man on earth escapes and runs and yells and stands in silence—silence
which is a soul's noise.
At the funeral I, embarrassed by resistance fighters
standing up to shake my hand, said
I wear your trousers, in the right hand pocket, a hole.
I wrap your hearing aids in this white t-shirt—
with brief gifts
you go my eye-green brother.
And I, a fool, live.

Six words,

please ease
of song

my tongue.

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