My brother

By

I sought my brother where the sun had risen; I journeyed to the winter of a star; I sought my brother in the grace of noonday; I found him in a prison. My brother is a black American. He is awaiting trial in a Canadian detention centre. We meet each other for the first time across a narrow counter with a transparent, sound proof partition between us. We cannot shake hands. I lift a phone to speak to him; he lifts a phone to speak to me. But something is wrong: his voice is far away. I'm listening intently, watching his lips. I've found my brother's hidden innocence. The wind that woke the winter solstice Blows softly through his blood now, morning-clean; O white wind, show him how his life's beginning! I've found my brother's hidden innocence. "Did you know that Jesus was crucified between two criminals?" As I speak into the phone, my brother's eyes are held unwavering on mine. I see no violence in him. I go on: "The prophet looked behind the crime to detect the in tegrity long hidden in these men, planted by God deep in their consciousness. At this moment, your own spiritual longing lets you see again the unbroken roots of your childhood innocence . . . God has always loved you, brother." His eyes -- still on mine -- are glistening. Suddenly it is time to go. We stand up face to face, our phones in our hands. I hear his voice for the last time in the distance: "I . . . love . . . you," he is saying. I sought my brother where the sun had risen; I journeyed to the winter of a star; I sought my brother in the grace of noon day; I found him in a prison. . . .

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