For the last twenty years of his life
my brother kept warning: “the end is near!”
When he became massively obese,
chain smoking, from morning till night,
he wept every time we met, reminding me
he would soon be pushing up daises.

A menopausal baby, he was dealt
a bad hand from the start.
At age fourteen he stole a motor
from a cement-mixing machine
to build a Go-Kart, he told the judge.

He graduated from a Reformatory
where he learned all the tricks
of the criminal mind. Packing heat
became de rigueur.

At seventeen he found a home
in the Navy, cruising the sea
as a natural-born raconteur.
He kept shipmates laughing out loud,
telling stories of his misadventures.

On the Isle of Majorca, he married
the first whore he met, a drunken union annulled
by the Captain, a decision he did not regret.

He aspired to be a Captain of a ferry,
but his gambling ways never kept him afloat.
Living in his car, broke and destitute,
his only company a gap-toothed prostitute.

His final days were spent gasping for breath
as he hauled around an oxygen tank.
With his Zippo lighter at the ready,
he never stopped blowing smoke rings,
the only pleasure that remained,
he always claimed.

As I walk by a flowering hydrangea,
a lone daisy pushes up in the middle.
It’s my bro, doing what he always said he would.