20th birthday

The candle flame flickers, dancing
light and shadow upon the mantelpiece,
reflecting from wall and mirror alike.
A focal point of light
in the darkened room.
Your eyes glisten from the photograph
on the shelf.
The animated flame almost makes them live,
and in that seeming life
my soul opens outwards
to embrace your memory.
Twenty years ago you came to be,
but only for a short time was your
sojourn foretold.
The joy and laughter replaced
by grief and bitter tears.
Your life was short,
but your death
seems to stretch out to eternity.

And yet the days seem not as dark
and there is joy again
in your brothers' lives.
Life brings hope, and hope alone
helps seal the deepest festering wounds.
Love is the antibiotic
that drives away the foul disease
of bitterness.


April 1, 2001