For George

Although you fly now

as a Great Blue Heron

you were once just an older brother

taller than the ceiling

longer than the bed

hair black as jet

heart bigger than your chest

the first to go to a four-year college

share your dreams of teaching Special-ed

dreams that eventually lifted you

from that brick hospital with its belching

smokestack to soar overhead like the cloud

that moved ahead of the Israelites

fleeing the rampaging Egyptians

though I didn’t know it you stuck around

as I fled toward the very demons

that assailed me after your passing

me left with nothing from you

except the silver filigree heart and

the memories that shaped my childhood

but over the years we’ve met often

on some lonesome highway

you cutting through clouds

your shadow falling on the car

and though some would argue

I feel your hand on my shoulder

that gentle squeeze that says how

you’re still looking out for me,

Older Brother.