Poem Notes


Here in the dark spot below the slats
that separate the canning jars and the killing jars
from the grit underneath the root cellar,
I am digging up treasure for my armless brother.

I have pulled up the boards that cover the hole
in the poured concrete created by winter and weather
and all things that are good such as time, rock candy,
and fresh dripping water.

I have peeled all the labels from the bottle backs
so the contents will become as mysterious
as my brother’s wounds. I have found him
A Farewell to Arms in a book-safe I ordered

from the Boys' Life classifieds. He’ll know
it’s funny so it will be funny not cruel
as tongues on chill metal. Where can we go when all
this is done? And how will we know when it is done?