A Photograph of My Brother, Five Years Old, Jumping into the Pool

Arms out, you twist in your leap,
goggles locking on whatever parent
is taking your picture. Unintentional art,
your body breaks planes of sky, ocean, sea
grass.  Each wave of turquoise underneath
you mimics the denim, salted blue horizon.

When you come home from war, twenty-five
or so years later, we go for a late drive in the dark
of a post-town suburbia, you talking to me as if
we have always talked and somewhere between
why you love your wife and how our father never
taught you to change a flat tire, you confide,
just this once, that you saw a little girl’s face melt off.

You, you are a serious child, a risk taker not
for credit but for action.  No look at me smile,
instead your mouth is pursed, decided.
I want to say you are so brave.  How can I
say I know the truth of you from a photograph
I didn’t take on a day I was not even alive?

Author: Maggie Blake