The ice-maker in his house is stuck, he says,
a little piece of ice jamming the opening,
and I tell him that the earthquake in Arezzo
was close to where I vacationed last year
when the world was Tuscan and good.
My brother is talking about his ice-maker
because a man can't talk about his lymphoma
and chemo every minute of the day.
And the earthquake – I think he knows –
is my way of speaking about a situation
not his, a different kind of unfairness.
Besides, what's a life without its little details –
trips to the market, a good parking spot.
He has to hang up, has a bet on the Jets-
Patriots game, which is about to start.
He's sure the Jets will cover the spread.
I make the opposite bet, our old fun.
Later, I put on my Maria Callas CD,
full of words I don't understand, but do.
If your brother has cancer, how lucky
to find someone to sing you beyond
what you've permitted yourself to feel.
Last time he visited he shrugged, smiled,
threw up his hands, as if to say
he was implicated in the big comedy now.
Then we played a card game called Push
and drank fine scotch, and turned on the TV.