Sarah Kobrinsky

The Great Pace

With a firm hand and an outstretched arm,
You delivered us from Egypt.

When you weren’t sweating or shitting,
when you weren’t in bed, a baby again,
between Mom and Dad shaking,
Mom and Dad taking turns to dunk you
in the tub all night to keep you cool,
when you weren’t pleading for death,
when you weren’t begging us
to put you out of your misery like a dog,
You were pacing, pacing with an energy
none of us had ever known, pacing
around the house in your bathrobe
and your FBI sunglasses, pacing
with the weight of the junk
still in your veins, pacing
in your Levis and your sticky bare feet.
And you were mambling under your breath,
mambling, that was your word,
prayers that made sense only for you:
If she isn’t crazy, you better check her for nuts!
Hey dollface, wanna take a ride?
When the speed of your feet wasn’t enough,
the house too small to chase or runaway
from what we’ll never know, you fueled up
the John Deere and drove down to the river,
back and forth and back and forth,
there was nothing left to mow.
My brother, with a firm hand
and an outstretched arm, the rubber tightening
around your bicep for the last time,
you were delivered. 

(from Nighttime on the Other Side of Everything, New Rivers Press 2018)