The last time I spoke to him,
my brother Tom was chanting Nam-Yo-Ho-Renge-Kyo eight hours a day
for the sake of all of us.
His slow, deep voice thanked me
for having left my shrine behind.
I felt guilt,
listening to the sweet, vacant tones
that years of alcohol and drugs had left.

I remember hearing him talking to friends
in Dad's back room
long after curfew:

"I'll go ahead and let the Sheriff chase me down," he said.
"You guys go straight home.
I'll be allright."



Anitra's Family Poems
Other Writing by Anitra