Dorianne Laux is an award winning poet whose free verse poetry has a simple and elegant meter to it. Her ability to draw the reader into the beauty of the everyday is astounding. Laux has taught creative writing at the University of Oregon, Pacific University, and North Carolina State University and lives in North Carolina with her husband. I strongly encourage all my readers to visit her site.
Ray at 14
by Dorianne Laux
Bless this boy, born with the strong face
of my older brother, the one I loved most,
who jumped with me from the roof
of the playhouse, my hand in his hand.
On Friday nights we watched Twilight Zone
and he let me hold the bowl of popcorn,
a blanket draped over our shoulders,
saying, Don’t be afraid. I was never afraid
when I was with my big brother
who let me touch the baseball-size muscles
living in his arms, who carried me on his back
through the lonely neighborhood,
held tight to the fender of my bike
until I made him let go.
The year he was fourteen
he looked just like Ray, and when he died
at twenty-two on a roadside in Germany
I thought he was gone forever.
But Ray runs into the kitchen: dirty T-shirt,
torn jeans, pushes back his sleeve.
He says, Feel my muscle, and I do.
I found the above poem thanks to the Writer’s Almanac Podcast with Garrison Keillor. I truly enjoyed this work. The writer does a commendable job of paying tribute to the deceased while showing the love she holds for Ray. It pushes the reader to connect with their own life and draw the parallel that when someone passes, they are never truly gone. I found a lot of comfort in the message from this poem and look forward to reading more work from this poet.
Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.