Side by side we toiled
After the bay broke through, my brother and I
Took up jobs cleaning the scraps of people’s homes
That drifted onto others’ yards.
They rode upon mattresses of seaweed
Bits of shingle, scraps of siding
A cushion somewhere along the journey
Drifted from its couch
The way we drifted from our mother’s faith.
“Work the field, boy,” my brother would cry out in phony Irish brogue
A line from his favorite film.
The storm hit sideways
With slanted rain to serve as archers in the night
It came while we slept
A moment when our breath suddenly stopped
And our eyes blinked open.
It could be that fast, the thunderous crack of death.
Another scythe sweeps by the faulty fields of men.
A thing so fast and careless can’t be in awe of any Creator, we thought
“Work the field, boy!”
And once an owner came out to tell us he was napping
Could we quiet down for now.
We couldn’t, but somehow we did anyway.
Drank coffee in the truck and loved every drop, as only the pious would.
Those moments in our rest when we
Trade rest for glory.
We say: “We’re in our glory now.”
Later we found a pair of bluefish dying in a shallow pool
We fished barehanded, could barely lift above our heads, the heft.
In disbelief, we sparked a fire on the beach
Ate roasted fish without a grain of salt besides what counts as salt inside the mist
“Work the field,” my brother said once more.
This time a mouth of bluefish made marbles of his words
But I could get the point.
Like those cartoons, he tried to pull the meat straight off the bone I
saw the ecstasy of disappointment through the smoke
But those are memories. Man can’t live on those alone.