Greg Kosmicki
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When My Brother Died

When my brother died I thought—I don’t know what I thought
I was 16 and I didn’t know anything about anything
most specifically I didn’t know what I thought I know

what I felt I felt horrible I felt like there was a huge hole
that had been ripped out of the center of something
but I didn’t have any idea what it would have been ripped

out of because I had no idea how anything related
to any other thing—all my life up to that point had been
a series of moments connecting one after the other

but I could not see where the moment I just came from
came from and I couldn’t see where the one I’d gotten to
was headed to—like some sort of weird cosmic puzzle

that my life was following no plan for the future
because there was no future but my brother somehow was a part
of all that existed in my world of disconnected elements and days

and he was gone from it though while he was here in it he
was never really in it for me but then he was gone and a hole
was opened in a place where there was something called my brother

that has never closed though it grows smaller the space
and I never knew where it fit into my life never knew I had a life
so I went on—that’s the story of all this it’s not much

though some will say that space has filled with one thing some
with another some will say it can never be filled but no one’s asking me
which is why I still remember sitting in the white V-Dub with Kathy

my cousin crying uncontrollably in the dark rain
outside my house our one time together out of all that
had never made itself clear to me what had gone before or came after

Greg Kosmicki

GREG KOSMICKI is a poet and social worker living in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied under the poet Greg Kuzma. He founded The Backwaters Press in 1997, which he now serves as Editor Emeritus. His poetry has been published in numerous magazines since 1975, both print and online, including Briar Cliff Review, Chiron Review, Cimarron Review, Connecticut Review, Cortland Review, Dacotah Territory, New Letters, Nimrod, Paris Review, Poetry East, Rattle, Smoking Poet, Paddlefish, and Windless Orchard. His poems have been anthologized many times, most recently in 2015 in A Sandhills Reader: Thirty years of great writing from the Great Plains, Stephen F. Austin State University Press. He received artist’s fellowships for his poetry from the Nebraska Arts Council 2000 and 2006. He is the author of four books and 8 chapbooks of poems. Two of the poems from his book from Word Press, Some Hero of the Past, and one poem from his chapbook from Pudding House Publications, New Route in the Dream, have been selected by Garrison Keillor and read by him on The Writer’s Almanac on Minnesota Public Radio. He has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. His newest book, Sheep can Recognize Individual Human Faces, was published in June of 2014 by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. A new collection, It’s as Good Here as it gets Anywhere, is due out from Wayne State College (WSC) Press under the Logan House imprint, in spring of 2016. He and Debbie, his wife of 42 years, are the parents of three children, grandparents of one.