Ninety-eight Rolls of Film Taken By My Brother Rob

Here is time’s afterimage, colorless
and awash in details unnoticed–
Dad’s grimace as he rises from his chair,
Mom’s focused look, helpless with concern,
Rob’s mango tree,
festooned in white and grey orchids.

Here the mango tree sits at the edge of his backyard,
visible from my parent’s porch,
a radius of life between their houses,
laden with fetus-shaped fruit
swaying under thick umbilical ropes
before my brother yanks
them free and into a plastic pail.

How the white and pale pink orchids cling
along the bark, their air roots
spindling through the wire mesh he fastened
last year, a foundation for slow rituals.

How at his kitchen sink, my brother stands and cuts
the skins of dozens of mangos
with mohel-like precision
and releases the wet sun-colored meat
onto his cutting board for processing.
A task he used to share with Dad.
A labor for father and son captured, tangible.

michael friedman photo 2014Michael Wayne Friedman
is a student in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Queens University of Charlotte. He lives with his lovely wife and two bat-shit crazy dogs near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. To help pay the bills, he works as a medical writer, preparing drug regulatory and scientific documents. His poems have appeared (or are slated to appear) in Golden Walkman Magazine, Yellow Chair Review, Camel Saloon, The Second Hump Volume V, Plum Tree Tavern, East Jasmine Review, Silver Birch Press, Eunoia Review, and Stray Branch.

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