O dance-floor, swimming-pool, pool hall genius! All-American alcoholic, heroic heartbreak, my brother. How to fit your surfer’s shoulders, your red ’66 Bonneville, your relapses, Jesuit diplomas, and scholarships, your trips to the pawnshop, your sandy feet, your discreet, knightly manner and magnificent grin, your seven-hundred-dollar hotel bar tab in London last Christmas, your off-the-ground and holy bearhugs with tattooed forearms, all shamrocks, sparrows, and saints, and your secrets, submerged beneath quicksilver tears and all that cheap beer — how to fit you, little brother, into this poem? I’d love to write an ode as lyrical as you are moving through water with ball or board. The formal, elevated style of an ode fits you perfectly, like a tuxedo or a Speedo. You’re dangerous in either one; ask any of my friends. But let’s get back to the poem and its dignified theme, which, in this case, is death. Tonight I’m up late afraid you might really die, that the drink might finally pull you under like the ocean does her lovers sometimes. You were born just before my first birthday. I once could outrun you and later outdrink you, but not for long. I really don’t know you, the kid across the teeter-totter or the dinner table, napkins in our laps, the kid behind me holding tight to my T-shirt astride the pony’s back. I don’t know the serious man in the black motorcycle jacket across the airplane aisle reading a good magazine. I don’t know you, cannot put you back on the pony, can’t fit you into three stanzas, can’t save you.