Remembering Peter (March 14 1954 - May 3 2004)Owl Boy
My mom remembers his birth
“pains growing stronger with each wave –
a pushing down force I had no control over.”
“His first words were "What does the owl say?"
And later, a game
We got down on our knees
and chased each other around the floor.”
“Peter loved to help me.
When our dog died, he took Tara’s body
out to the hill and buried her.”
Boats and Weapons
Big brother in the room across the hall
with grandfather's swords, pistols and crystal radio set.
Once he got mad and pounded on my chest.
Basement flooded that spring & we made boats
and sailed together in the Cesspool Sea.
Secret trails blazed by my brother.
Who could light fires in the rain
& fight off things blown down by the wind
I crawled into his bed at night
when spirits rattled coat hangers in my closet
& the room looked all crooked & wrong.
He taught me to see things
before they see you.
He went away to boarding school and wore uniforms
And then away to college
Sometimes he would visit.
Shouting with glee.
Brother Dragon Wizard
He turned me and Tim (my other brother) on to books
where characters transform fatal flaws thru heroic striving
Worlds of wizards & dragons and magical powers.
Where the dark force was very strong.
Peter liked happy endings.
When Peter called I almost never picked up the phone.
Tim says, “Communicating with him was like
trying to put a three pronged plug into a two pronged socket.”
Life on his terms.
Four unsuccessful back surgeries
Fat, sick & grey under his eyes.
Now things see him before he sees them.
Heart attack in Calgary strip mall parking lot – died in his car.
Keys on floor with cigarette butts and crumpled coffee cups.
Found at first light, after missing all night.
Viewing his body.
Mother, daughter, girlfriend.
Nothing to think.
He just lies there and has no more chi than a pen.
Somebody you know suddenly turns into cold stone.
They don’t see you, don’t hear you, and don’t move.
Later, my mother tells me
what he said about wizard Gandolf
who plummeted to his death fighting a dark force monster.
“Don’t worry, mom, he isn’t really dead.”
Gone completely. Completely gone.