Droplets of sweat glistening

and running down his face

forehead to chin, rivulets

becoming tears, choking

back wracking sobs as

he said simply, I should

have told you Wayne died

three weeks ago

Half asleep, dragging two cans

of garbage in my bamboo pajamas

I instinctively wrapped my arms

around my hulk of a neighbor

as he wept from so deep inside

unleashing a lifetime of unshed sorrow

for an older brother whom he said

had always been a troubled soul

The road, houses, cars disappeared

as he asked me what he should do

but before an answer even formed

he pulled away, wiped his face

saying the bigger stuff could be

put at the curb but his brother

had this collection of rubber bands

sorted by length in old jars

There must be millions and

I can still see his cigarette stained

fingertips touching each one like prayer

beads to a God he no longer believed in

What do I do with blue, green, red, tan

and purple rubber bands that

my brother treasured for reasons

I never took the time to ask


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