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Family Trilogy
By Don Decker
Genre: Poetry Level: Adult
Category: UAA/ADN Creative Writing Contest

Don Decker

Family Trilogy One


"Dear Don,"

she wrote to me,

her youngest son,

a far, cold North away.


Delicately penciled prose

on blue lined paper said,

"I might as well just tell you..."

Nothing more.


The confused confession made her

condition coldly clear.

A cloud had darkened all her realm

like nightfall on a slope

of freshly fallen snow,

and lingered there until her sentence was complete.


Family Trilogy. Two


Dear Brother:


You came late to the house,

once yours.

Angry ex-marine,

fireman with

spit shined shoes and buckle dutifully

centered above the zipper.


"About dad's car," you slurred

to Mom, recent widow, whose words

said nothing back.


I came downstairs,

freckled and frail in ill fitted briefs,

my head and heart entangled

In my only, lonely battle

against your will.

You were older, always stronger, meaner.


"Look at him,"

was all you said,

about, not to, me.

Then you left.


All my days I was your little kin,

no brother.

I could no longer hide from scorn or hurt

nor long held fears or years spent fighting with myself.

So I left too that night.



Family Trilogy. Three


Dear Dad:


I was seventeen in '60.

You were sixty.

I rowed.

You fished from the stern.


My dog swam out to us mid lake.

Though you forbade it,

I pulled him in by the collar.

I chose him over you. 

I had to.


You told me to throw the anchor.


it sank in green water with a sip and bubble,

to its final resting place.

I remember

the rented anchor meant more to you than my regret.


I worked the line,

gas tank after tank.

Standing under moving cars in a concrete pit.








On day one

the foreman showed a big red button to stop the line.

"Never," he said, "stop the line."


There you watched me in your blue guard suit:

satin stripes and slick black shoes, busman's cap and badge,

talking to others about me.


Now I am older than you were when you died,

And have learned to love you more.

I wish I could have stopped the line,

or anchored us just long enough

for you to pull me in.



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