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

Meeting my brother for Saturday lunch, I take the scenic route along Route 40,

though the toll road on the interstate is much quicker,

because I love driving through all the small towns along the National Road,

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, so I can imagine smell its old insides, 

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

and how I’d like to go and sit at the bar sometime with any good friend, have the bartender 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 allegedly best wings that I’ve earmarked

for a reunion with my best friend growing up, 

how good a cold beer with Dan will taste,

and finally into town …. 

but first, I have to pee, 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 site of filled squeegee buckets for the first time in two years since the pandemic emptied all of them, 

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 proper 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 like big and little brother

and remind each other of the only things that matter.

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