Righteous riffs

Meeting My Brother For Saturday Lunch ….

I’d like to thank Billy Collins for writing Aimless Love (you should totally look it up) and Ben Folds for saying, “At its most basic, making art is about following what’s luminous to you and putting it in a jar, to share with others. ”

Meeting My Brother For Saturday Lunch

I choose the scenic route along Route 40,

though the interstate toll road is so much quicker,

because slow driving the small towns along the National Road is worth a savor,

passing the new donut shop at the light in Beallsville that’s supposed to be really good

and that I will probably never stop at 

because I think sometimes the wishing is better

past Scenery Hill’s Century Inn, where I imagine smell its old insides, 

hear the fire place spit and crackle the echoes of two hundred years of thousands of conversations, 

how I’d like to go and sit at the bar sometime with any good friend, ask the bartender to soak a cherry in an old-fashioned for me

so our warm words can waft to the rafters, too

across the bridge that bypasses Brownsville 

and that place somewhere below with the supposedly best wings that I’ve earmarked

for a reunion with my best friend growing up, 

how good that cold beer will taste,

and finally into town …. 

but first, I have to go, so peel into the Sheetz and, 

avoiding the guilt of a pee-and-flee, stand and squeeze just $9.75 into the tank

to save a full fill-up for Sam’s Club so much cheaper, 

the stupid cold, whipping wind, me leaving my coat in the car, 

I catch sight of filled squeegee buckets for the first time in two years since Covid emptied them all, 

and, euphoric, can’t resist drawing one and sloshing it across

my salty-slushed back windshield (take that, winter) 

wiping the slates clean, back then front, before inside for a paid-for pee,

so my bladder is empty when my big brother gives me the biggest bear hug in his lobby before we retire to his office, 

and I sit across and soak in his shrine to everything he loves: 

overflowing his shelves, adorning his walls, saving his screens, disordering his desk, 

his kids as kids, their wide smiles tracing bigger and bigger over years in their rainbow of uniforms, 

now adults and their kids, still uniforms to come

and we talk big and little brother talk

and remind each other of the only things that matter.


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