Archives for posts with tag: brothers

kewpie 1
What I Knew
by Anita S. Pulier

Strolling the Coney Island arcade
on my eighth birthday, we placed a quarter
in the palm of a fortune teller
sporting a crystal ball.

Her braceleted arms jangled,
as an arthritic ringed finger
explored my father’s smooth palm.

You are a lawyer, with three children,
two sisters and a brother.

Wrong, no brother,
we shouted, laughed,
won a kewpie doll.

Driving home this is what he said:
Oh my God, I had an older brother
who died when I was very young,

Guess we owe her a kewpie doll
he said as he continued fiddling
with the car radio.

This is what I said
as I watched Coney Island flit by:
“You forgot you had a brother who died?”

All his life my father refused
to pay homage to grief,
would not visit hospitals,
or attend funerals

and then this small dead brother
chose my 8th birthday
to rise like Lazarus

from the rambling
gold-toothed mouth
of a carnival soothsayer.

Still I knew,
he would never ask
me to return that doll.
I loved him for that.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: “What I Knew” was published in The Legal Studies Forum anthology (West Virginia University Press, 2017) and in The Lovely Mundane (Finishing Line Press, 2013).

PHOTO: Kewpie Doll by Chicks57.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I had an extraordinary father. He had been abandoned by his own father when young and grew up on the streets of Jewish Harlem in Manhattan. Dad put himself through law school by driving a cab and working in the wholesale meat district. I and both my brothers became lawyers and joined our Dad’s practice, where we worked happily together for many years until each of us retired. Dad had many life skills, but never got in touch with the tragedy of losing a brother as a kid. This poem tells how I found out about the uncle I never knew existed until that day.

Pulier1 copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anita S. Pulier’s chapbooks — Perfect Diet, The Lovely Mundane, and Sounds of Morning — and her books, The Butchers Diamond and Toast, were published by Finishing Line Press. Her new book Paradise Reexamined will be released by Kelsay Books in 2023. Anita’s poems have appeared both online and in print in many journals and anthologies. She has been the featured poet on The Writers Almanac and Cultural Weekly. Her website has links to her books and offers poems as well as an interview transcript. Animations of some poems and videos of her readings are also accessible via the website.

at fifteen my cousin steve and i were more like brothers
by Scott Ferry

we walked the quarter mile to the ocean
down magnolia street in august 630 pm
dive into the shorebreak at high tide tall and swift
each of us with one fin to kick into steep walls
and watch the curl upend and dish into a swirling oblong
the body a sliding wet light among the sunlit array
of bluegreygreenyellowwhite until the glass
of evening closed steaming in a puff of foam
and we half walked half swam back out for another
and we never got cold or tired
until the corners of the sky turned
tangerine and smoke and we exited
maybe a towel maybe not maybe sandals
maybe barefoot back to his house on hula circle
to shower off the sand in our shorts
and the sticky salt from the eyelashes
and then we would eat and eat
and eat

PHOTO: Two surfers at California beach, sunset by Trevor Gerzen on Unsplash. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I thought I would throw one in about immortality.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN in the Seattle, Washington, area. His seventh book of poetry, The Long Blade of Days Ahead, is available from Impspired Press. More of his work can be found at

deutsch 1
The Lone Ranger
by Steven Deutsch

For his tenth birthday,
my brother got

two cap pistols
a good guy hat

and the Ranger’s
famous black mask.

At six
I was convinced

that my masked brother
was beyond recognition.

I was happy
to be cast as Tonto.

I wore a single chicken feather
held fast by a salvaged hatband,

and carried a tomahawk
made of a hammer handle

and an empty can
of Campbell’s soup,

I said sidekick things.
“Him say horses need water,”

and called my brother
But, how I wanted
that mask.

I’d tie it on
and visit the mom and pop

shops up and down Hopkinson Avenue
preserving the peace

to a chorus of
“Who was that masked man?”

And when my brother
discovered baseball in June

I buckled on
his six-shooters

and climbed up
on my magnificent white horse.

What a glorious

To this day
I can’t watch

the sun go down
without belting out

“Hi Ho Silver

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I often write about my brother, though only rarely truthfully.  I had the idea for this poem early on. The original ending was much darker, but I couldn’t get it. This ending popped up instead. I’m happy with less darkness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Over the past two years, Steve Deutsch’s work has appeared in more than two dozen journals. He was nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2017 and 2018. His chapbook, Perhaps You Can, was published in 2019 by Kelsay Press. His full-length book, Persistence of Memory, will be published in September 2020, again by Kelsay Press. He takes full responsibility for the blog

by Alan R. Shapiro 

The two boys lean out on the railing   
of the front porch, looking up.
Behind them they can hear their mother   
in one room watching “Name That Tune,”   
their father in another watching   
a Walter Cronkite Special, the TVs   
turned up high and higher till they   
each can’t hear the other’s show.   
The older boy is saying that no matter   
how many stars you counted there were   
always more stars beyond them   
and beyond the stars black space   
going on forever in all directions,   
so that even if you flew up
millions and millions of years   
you’d be no closer to the end   
of it than they were now
here on the porch on Tuesday night   
in the middle of summer.
The younger boy can think somehow   
only of his mother’s closet,   
how he likes to crawl in back   
behind the heavy drapery
of shirts, nightgowns and dresses,   
into the sheer black where
no matter how close he holds   
his hand up to his face
there’s no hand ever, no
face to hold it to.
A woman from another street
is calling to her stray cat or dog,   
clapping and whistling it in,
and farther away deep in the city   
sirens now and again
veer in and out of hearing.
The boys edge closer, shoulder   
to shoulder now, sad Ptolemies,
the older looking up, the younger
as he thinks back straight ahead
into the black leaves of the maple
where the street lights flicker
like another watery skein of stars.
“Name That Tune” and Walter Cronkite
struggle like rough water
to rise above each other.
And the woman now comes walking
in a nightgown down the middle
of the street, clapping and
whistling, while the older boy
goes on about what light years
are, and solar winds, black holes,
and how the sun is cooling
and what will happen to
them all when it is cold.
“Astronomy Lesson” appears in Alan R. Shapiro’s collection Happy Hour (The University of Chicago Press, 1987).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alan Shapiro (born in 1952), the author of numerous collections of poetry, has won the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Los Angeles Book Prize, and a Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. He has taught at Stanford University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.