Where is little brother now who was so good

at not growing up?

Wish I could turn back the hands

of his phony Rolex, throw away

his lucky horseshoes and horseshit

premonitions, talismans of a gambler’s


I’d pipe him aboard once again in the navy

where he earned his stripes, stopped stuffing

himself with food until honorably discharged

trim as a mannequin.

At school he wasn’t CRMD, just an ADHD

comical clown, tap dancing like Gleason

a melancholy buffoon playing Pollachi.

Scorned in the schoolyard for being so fat

he told side-splitting stories to keep bullies

at bay.

He wouldn’t practice his fiddle just fiddled around

lulled by hot dogs and mounds of French-fries.

He gambled his life away, a swaggering

Diamond Jim Brady who couldn’t pay his bills.

I regret he’s not here with me now, fishing

as we used to do, casting lines at Point Lookout

swatting no-see-ums and hoards of black flies.

I gaze at the spectral blueness of sky

refracted through salt of sudden tears.

Puffs of immaculate clouds roll by.

I wonder: is he up to old tricks trying

to catch a free ride?

I’m telling him I love him but don’t

expect a response.

At last he’s sure of his luck, locked

on to blackjack finally convinced

he will be a winner.

Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. Leonia, N.J. 07605.