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Monday, April 09, 2007

Al and Cory

Al has been on the road for months
Sitting on his 1960 lawn mower
Dragging his “little home” cart
Crowned by proud antlers
From a very distant past.

His eyesight failing
His hand shaking over his cane
His license taken away
This journey he calls a sign
Of “swallowed pride”
After countless years of “unforgivable sin”
Against his brother Cory.

He spends some nights in barns
Stops under trees with fellow travelers
Empties his billfold in a bar
Telling the story of how he and Cory
Grew on a farm and played all day
And watched the stars at night.

And now that he’s reached Iowa
Under the setting sun
He could “almost smell” Cory
And he hears about how Cory had a heart attack.
“Is he all right?” asks Al worriedly.
“Yes, he’s home now” says the neighbor.

Just a few yards more
And the mower goes chug-chug-poof again
So Al slowly gets off
Struggles towards the house with his cane
Shouting his brother’s name in a hoarse voice
“Cory! Cory!”

The screen door opens and Cory stands in the porch
Leaning on his cane, squinting his eyes
“Is that you, Al?”

Now the two stand face to face speechless.
And Cory looks toward the road
Seeing the mower and the cart
“Is that yours?”
“You came all the way in that junk to see me?”
And Cory understands.

Silence. As tears well up in their eyes.
They stand there as if it was forever
Until the stars come out
And the two lift their heads up.

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