Supernova – by Sam Barbee

I scrub your headstone and place six daisies
before your flat shrine – our sad father’s smoldering
white star.  I recall him here:
            a big brother would have helped keep you straight.
                     I would have wanted twinkling accounts
           about first girls, help buying an underage PBR,
you to punch out the neighborhood bully.
                                                                    No first breath,
no suffering, you were the noiseless focus of love’s confidence.
Never shushed, always loud and alive in your birth-mother’s
silent eyes.  Your innocent supplications never denied.
Fingers grip-less at childbirth, death’s thumb against your palm.
Your earned applause unheard – chords of hope stolen.  Your scar
left on our parent’s hearts.  A bruise to mine.
                                                                         This Easter Monday,
your solitary date glows amber in the afternoon light.  Amid this galaxy
of gravestones – new starbursts bloom among afternoon thermals.
I listen for your brilliant wisdoms but nothing timeless imparted.
Au revoir, mon frère, for another year.  As always, before pivot,
            I ponder why no chiseled epitaph honors your tiny name.

Sam BarbeeSam Barbee has a new collection, Apertures of Voluptuous Force (2022, Redhawk Publishing). He has three previous poetry collections, including That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), which was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016. Also, Uncommon Book of Prayer (2021, Main Street Rag) which chronicles family travels in England. His poems have appeared recently in Poetry South, Literary Yard, Snapdragon, Asheville Poetry Review, and Adelaide Literary Magazine, among others; plus on-line journals . . . and is a two-time Pushcart nominee.