Returning to that Country

by Fraser Sutherland

I am afraid to return to that small green country
of hills and hollows. No one’s there of whom to be afraid.
What would await: the ashes of my son buried near
the bones of my brother, though neither can harm or hurt me
except the brackets of their living and their dying.
I woke to a cerebral-palsied brother making an outcry
from his narrow rubber-sheet pissy bed next to mine.
Far apart in time and space I wrestled on the floor
a psychotic son who daily took the improving pills

that killed him. Ashes and bones are stilled by time,
they don’t go on like the plum and cherry I planted
as if to defy long winters and the nowhere spring.
To see in summer that smiling country would make me wonder
what I have to fear. But here, far away, I re-enact what went on,
that kept going on, of someone suffering in the next bed.

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