4 Years from the 5th of May

Four years ago today, I learned that my brother Stuart would die from pancreatic cancer. I bought an orchid for him at the corner store and took it with me on the train to see him in CT. I needed to be with the him and his family there: my brother, my sister-in-law, and my niece.

Stuart loves orchids.

I miss him so much. Today I saw this beautiful phalaenopsis, and it reminded me of him, that day, and my cousins, who have helped me get through the trauma of his illness and death. At the time, we all kept buying orchids. Somehow it helped.

So today I bought this one and took it home. I cleared away some sphagnum moss that was blocking its roots from the air they need. It can breathe better now.


Cinco de Mayo

The Fifth of May
for my brother Stuart

I was not too political, as I
was counting on you to express
my heart of hope without the difficulty
of saying out loud the things
that divide. These were not

Arguments that I wanted.
Then one October Sunday dying
– 5.5 months from that fifth of May –
[Twas an agonizing Cinco de Mayo
when you prophesied your fate.] &

Your halting words tried to
sustain me although crying
from the pain of bodily betrayal –
pancreas riddled with pathology &
a liver fading faster than your sprints of

Sweet athleticism so strong &
yet they could not catch a break
to win nor hold this awful thing at bay.
Now from that May & autumn-of-loss
I find myself shouting

For justice with your own words of
force that made me shy. Your politics
of mercy now grow fierce inside me until
I wonder each day how a man
of heaven holds the earth this way.

© 2016 Anna Mosby Coleman