Premature Plans and the Sight of Him



Cathy McArthur

When I wandered too far on the other side of the building,
waiting for my brother to come out of a coma,
Mr. Sunshine, the counselor with an unbelievable name
told me to begin living.

And as if overnight, but several months later,
my child appeared on a sonogram, looking like the sibling
I was losing. He lifted his arm as if waving.

When Mike disappeared, there was evidence of him
in my kitchen; he had left his red cap, his gin bottle on my shelf.

His home aide, cooking a fish stew, shook his head when I asked
where my brother had gone. He showed me black bags
from the liquor store, a chair where he watched TV.

My brother was found out in the street—
half dazed, wide eyed, waking and falling asleep.

In the end I wanted to hold my boy in a blue bunting,
leave that place, that hospital by the river,
my brother again in ICU, connected to machines, tubes, an IV.

In my room someone said they saw him—
early on, for a moment, they thought he looked like me.