After house painting, I dream my dead brother comes in a rowboat
Awake and unable to remember what he said, I drift through the house, still scrubbing
the stubborn paint from my hands, cooking eggs, watching my daughters float
on their lavender sheets. In the clear light
of the kitchen, I see that he and his boat were behind me all day, yesterday:
there while I hauled paint up the ladders, there while I hauled ladders around the house.
He didn’t call out. He didn’t pitch in.
I do the work of living, getting on with it. He shadows me.
That’s the way he always turns up—so quietly a day or a month or a decade may pass
before I remember he’s standing between me and the sun.
Scott Coykendall teaches journalism, technical communication, and other writing courses at Plymouth State University. His poems have appeared in Black Fox Literary Magazine, COG, The Cossack Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Midwest Quarterly, and Quarterly West.