There is such comfort to be had laughing with you
sharing a joke and a smile across these many miles
visualising you hanging backwards off your chair
phone tucked neatly under your chin, shirt and tie
how did we become almost proper grown ups now

I look at your photo sometimes, stern upright man
you hate having your picture taken and it shows
so too does the love you have for your daughters
arms resting lightly across their small shoulders
one with your smile, one with your nose and eyes

What few could ever suspect is your humour
gentle teasing escalates to laughter rip roaring
which must make your work colleagues wonder
at this so serious man with the contagious giggle
reserved only for wives, little sisters and daughters

I see you now behind your big desk, corner office
visiting you there is like landing in alien territory
where doors shush closed, and people talk quietly
serious money being dealt through leveraged deals
golf days, I have no clue about what it is you do

But fundamentally I know you, 46 years of knowing
from small children spitting out angry words
to sneaking out to smoke dope on the back porch
watching the moon rise over the maple trees
keeping an ear out for raccoons raiding the garbage

Moving on and then years of not knowing so well
time passing, career building, family making
and then started the phone calls, every few months
then letters interspersed with calls, monthly chats
and onto every other week tea and donut time

You closing the office door, an early morning call
me rushing home from work to make it on time
the phone often ringing just as I walk in the door
sinking into our battered old blue sofa, bare feet
talking to my suited and booted biggest brother

Planning our next gathering, renting big old houses
filling them with laughter and love, happy times
relaxing with three generations of our kin
carbon copies of features seen again and again
softly spoken words on a different back porch

We're holding our family together across the ocean
creating something of the nothingness that was
weaving a web of ties that should always have been
building a bridge over the treacherous past
you bringing the donuts and me bringing the tea

In the end there's something about family though
even one dismembered of some of it's members
a lingering core, a remnant of almost wholeness
a joy in seeing a breaking in the endless cycle
a newer generation now unencumbered and free

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