Today’s poem is “Prepping Asparagus with My Brother, April 2015” by Michelle M. Faith. She’s a retired editor and teacher, and her poetry has been published in Art New England, U.S. Catholic, Kalliope, Slant, Deus Loci, and other publications. She is currently working on a series of poems responding to the works and life of Charles Darwin.
She writes, “This was one of the last times I had with my brother, who passed away in 2018 after a long battle with a debilitating disease. We had regularly talked on the phone—mostly about food, family recipes and stories, daily challenges—never about politics. I miss those conversations, his soft chuckle, and his very pragmatic wisdom.”
Prepping Asparagus with My Brother, April 2015
by Michelle M. Faith
“What strange creatures brothers are!”
Though years have passed since we saw
one another, and though our politics
seldom mesh, we do agree on this:
snap, don’t cut. Snap where spears give
naturally, dividing edible from not.
We bend each stalk with care,
patiently, until it strains and breaks,
the tiny, crisp sounds marking the rhythm
of silence and word.
Tim, so gaunt, but strong of soul,
quietly notes he’s come to terms
with oxygen tanks and the plastic tubes
that drape his head. A lifeline, a breath.
We snap, and the woody ends fall away.
It is the tender stems we will savor.
Poem copyright ©2020 by Michelle M. Faith.