A poem remembering Michael Brasel

At the candlelight vigil, Sarah CR Clark, who was a neighbor of the Brasel family for 13 years, shared her poem “Song of our neighbors.” She dedicated the poem to “all of my neighbors” but especially Brasel’s wife Hilary and sons Oliver and Miles.

“Song of our neighbors”

thwack!      thwack!              

the song of our neighbors rang out

for at least two winters

before I recognized

thwack!       thwack!      

the sound of hockey sticks

slapping icy pucks into

thwack!       thwack!

backyard goals, glowing

under strings of lights

percussion warming the winter

thwack!       thwack!

down the block in summer

dinner drifting through screen-

windows beckons, a piano

practice serenades the street,

so we step from our kitchens, outside

to be nearer the crickets

the moon and one another

thwack!       thwack!

here, we are more than house numbers

street names yard signs blaring

we are our kids on scooters

thwack!       thwack!

we are the dogwoods, lilacs, crabapples

we are those walks to Speedy Market

we are kringler, wild coyotes

thwack!       thwack!

we are Cooper’s hawks crying, and

even the ridiculous turkeys

tonight we are a 2009 orange dodge challenger

without a driver

and we feel it, the breath-holding we

do when one of us is missing

that rending silence


in our longings for harmony

for neighbors

for a heartbeat

thwack!       thwack!

thwack!       thwack!

do you hear it?

echoing off your house and mine,

in here?

thwack!       thwack!

singing out

we belong to each other

we belong to each other

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