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February 5, 2012

Evening to Evening, Ashes to Ashes, Brothers Still

The following prose poem by Arthur C. Ford has a quiet way of delivering multiple messages. Without fuss or ceremony, Arthur weaves his way through the kinds of daily details that make up all our lives, until those lives are done. The sounds, the words are simple, but what they say runs deep. This work about his brother reminded me again of the many simple things I have shared with my brother and sister and how, their simpleness notwithstanding, those everyday events and sharing connect us all on such a deep level.

New Orleans Street Scene, Ysabel de la Rosa

My Brother, Cyril
by Arthur C. Ford, Sr.

In the early part of an evening of our lives, my brother and I felt like we were
trapped in a net made of glue; the New Orleans humidity was the same as the
 temperature—ninety. After we drank some cheap wine, I noticed he had drifted off
to sleep with ashes hanging from fifty per cent of his cigarette. The breeze coming
from the window was cool; he sneezed; I went to cover him with a blanket, and of
course put the cigarette out, but the ashes fell to the floor, and dissipated to the
command of the wind. I threw the blanket over him, put
 what was left of his ashed-cigarette in the ashtray, then went to sleep.

I was sixteen, he was two years younger, but more curious. He was the one who found a
way to get into our house “without a key,” camouflage Mrs. Katy’s lemon pies until
they “disappeared,” and find someone old enough to purchase wine for us. On
the other hand, I soon proved to be a “partner in his mischiefs” and mastered all his
 antics. He was good in biology, being the first to explain to me the process of
 photosynthesis. I was a wiz in mathematics, mentally computing what our change
should be before the grocer added it up on the cash register. We supplemented
 each other perfectly. My brother and I did practically everything together; we
went to school, church, parties together, went fishing, swimming, played ball,  
and to secure our togetherness even more, we dated girls who were sisters.

Years later, in the late part of an evening of my life, I sat staring (after drinking a
 bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne) across the room. I noticed that the breeze had
become wild and colder, but this time it did not interfere with my brother or his
ashes, for they both were resting well in the hermetically sealed urn on my altar.

Arthur C. Ford, Sr. was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. He earned his B.S. degree from Southern University in New Orleans, studied creative writing, and was a member of the Drama Society. He has visited 45 states in the USA and resided for two years in Brussels, Belgium. Recently he spent 30 days, doing missionary work and traveling in India. Mr. Ford currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA,where he continues to write, edit and publish poetry and prose.

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