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  • Writer's pictureJer Long

Surrender to the Light

To grieve is to analyze, fret over, and regret the things you wished had happened and the future that will never be. When my brother passed away, my mind was a cyclone of plus pulses and agonizing agitation. Unable to calm the fire-flaming dragon within, I picked up my pen and wrote myself out of the crippling pain and into the light again.

What were you thinking as you slept unaware?

Ungranted wishes? Unanswered prayers?

Did you hear our sister sobbing when you gently pumped her hand?

And the song.

Did you like the way I sang for you You’ll Never Walk Alone again?


Not a twitch. Not a flinch. Not a sigh. Not a single word as I began to cry

I lit a candle

I uttered a prayer

I imagined emerald pastures with blades of grass

Soft as shantung silk

A velvet ribboned robin’s nest

Upon which your head might rest

A Camelot, a Brigadoon, a world shaken free of gloom

Where Palos Verde Blue dazzling with morning dew

And Violetears of illustrious hue feast on Hibiscus, Lantanas

Columbine, and Eucalyptus too

In which of the five languages you mastered

Were your final thoughts that night?

Did you genuflect and sign the cross and pray Commendation rite?

Your high expectations few could reach

I fought against your brother-preach

Demanding summer attitude

You commanded with winter fortitude

Spring and autumn were unreliable

They could never tow your line

Garnered negative ambiguity

Life challenged your scholarly equity

So, you shaved the cord of generosity

But never snipped the twine

One running North

One running South

Your unacceptance of the path I chose

Spoiled what might have been

Duplicity I cannot forget

But memories gilded rich

Has mellowed my posture proud

Disengaging prejudice never spoke, not even once, out loud

Eight years my senior, you to me

We sailed through artistic history

Down each museum corridor we bowed before miracles I still adore

From front row center or balcony

We gorged on Theatre divine

Nibbled gleefully on cinematic royalty inspiring for its time

Ancient literature you presented fresh

I, an eager pup, devoured by the hour

Chekhov, Fitzgerald, James, and Flaubert

Their words tattooed on my gratitude

Two brothers, we, from a family soaked in resentment sour

We mastered language beautiful to compensate the dour

Until your



Agonizingly, your animosity

Stripped bare, the lilac’s fragrant power

Inheritance, by providence knotted

I’ll unraveled not

Nor relinquish wailing want

For reminisces remorseful

Ignited new

From kindling, severed, split, and spiked

Reconciliation from the ashes grew

The deprivation of separation

Please note

Is only time struck dumb

If strumming joyous melodies stings sharp the heartfelt memories

Then gratefully the pain of consequence

Monogrammed on your brand

I’ll suffer sad without shame

The unbridled love

I am loath to tame


1 Comment

Nov 06, 2022

Such a beautiful and heartfelt poem!

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