The Other Brother

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It was a hot day in the field
when, returning at last
bone-tired, sore from
tending your stiff-necked flock,
I saw bonfires,
extravagant blazes lighting
the way to our house,

but not for me
home late from
work,

so I asked your servant
“why such celebration?”

That’s when my anger exploded;
…poor fellow, he bore my rage
and yelping away
cried it wasn’t his fault!

No, it wasn’t.
It isn’t.

It’s You.

You ask me to obey
and obediently I honor you every day.
With sweat and callused hands,
I cajole this stingy land
to give up a little wheat.
With my blood
I water these fields;

but when I wanted to show
my friends a little generosity,
I asked you for a stingy goat,
a meager feast, and
you said “no.”

So here he is, come home at last,
profligate brother…prodigal,
wastrel, drunkard,
sinner!

He’s back
and suddenly the prize calf
I worked so hard to make so fat is slain,
a royal feast for your favorite son
(though somewhat late) come home again!

But,

as always
my anger fades
in the glow of your summer love.

I don’t like this!

but you tell me
that your love does not diminish
but increases with the giving…

and, after all,
it is not every day that one’s brother
is to life recalled.

So for you, father,
I’ll look him in the eye
and let him back
into my life.

(8/11/2013)

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