ELEGY FOR TOMMY MOONEY
What might have been the last thing you saw,
not grain feed or silo walls too high
to ever reach? I want it to be
your brother’s arms, his mouth just above
the ladder from which you fell, your name
on his lips. You were six years younger
than I am now. Still, I imagine you,
my hand on the wall of this dark cave
in County Cork, alone, and always
wanting to touch all that escapes me.
I have flown across the Atlantic
to be nearer to this soil, our name.
Envelope of umber void, the mouth
of this place didn’t frighten me until
I remembered the newspaper, your
obituary, I remembered
the image of you falling into
endless corn grain, how even with your
brother’s hands brushing the top of your
head, you must have felt defenseless there.
Here, in the place of your blood, the place
that you will never see, I’m thinking
of all the hands that felt for you through
the granule, the men who hurried down
the ladder to get to you, your brother’s
screaming are you there? and you, upright,
fifteen minutes later, somewhere in
all that corn, sunken deep, lifeless.
The Wednesday after your death,
your mother carefully cut out
your face and name from The Troy Record
beneath the headline—TROJAN FALLS.