To my Beloved Brother, Peter…He who loved me first.

PUMPKIN by Michael Naylor

I am thinking of my brother Peter

flung…catapulted through a windshield

like a cannonball

his lifeblood spilled

smeared, scattered like

shattered glass

by the crazy thunder

of metal, windshield, flesh

mixed in a blender

of pavement and night

and veins hurled into eternity,

and headlights flying at him

like blazing saucers

UFO’s in a weird odd night

two blinking mysterious lights

fast on him

rushing at him from the darkness

of a silent summer night,

and in that sudden moment

did someone murmur

“oh shit”

or shudder silently,

did he know in a blink of time

that he was gone

and suddenly floated above it all

like a drowned man in water

hanging there,

for a split second did he


the eyes of the old man

hurling at him like terrified rabbits

suddenly cornered by time

snared, the noose ready

to snap their necks

seconds before their cars

exploded and mangled in space,

In that moment was it

an endless freeze-frame

and time enough for Peter

to feel compassion for the

old man’s utter human response

child fear screaming from his eyes

bulging and spilling with death…

What do you see just before you die?

And did Peter think of me

his adoring little brother

so anxious

to see him 10 hours later

did I tumble in bed

baseball dreams ruptured

when glass shattered and sparks

erupted on wet black pavement

and skulls smashed

like pumpkins

thrown on the ground

torn in half

by splintering glass windshield blades

razor sharp in the fury of speed,

and Peter ram-rodded into eternity,

into another dimension, sawed off,

his lovely handsome face

useless to him dripping like

a limp wet rag from his skull,

and did he hear his fiancee’

wail in the night

shaken by a coldness

she could not understand,

and did he feel my longing

for him

that punched and prodded me

relentless after his death

till something erupted and all

I could do was wander, restless,

haunted with his


writing over and over and over

on a sheet of paper

“I love you Peter, I love you Peter, I love you Peter”

I was nine years old

and I loved my brother madly.

There was baseball

and there was Peter.

And did Peter

stop to peer one last time

shocked to be stripped

of his body

that had fallen splintered on the ground

a tree struck by lightening

and when a priest mumbled

last rites in a pool of warm black blood

huddled on cold wet pavement

did Peter want dad

there holding him as he died

and did Dad


reach to him with every ounce of

tenderness he could muster

crying out in his sleep

“Oh my son”

one last time

that Peter might know his place

in his heart?

It is all these things I wonder about!

For when death cuts you

edges swirling everywhere

and silence turns to stone

and dreams like dust


and the darkness

wails through you

heaving a hole of shock 

out your backside

and you are impaled

with the sorrow of

death licking its lips

all around you

one must know.

And in this infinite night

where time stands still

and nothing is counted

I am calling out

with all my heart

He is my brother, you cannot have him!

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