He was no Tom or Tom or Denzel,
not larger than life, but still better.
We now-middle-aged wishful Brendas
longed to soothe his '90s-style, James-Dean
hurt. We named our children Dylan.
It was all we could do
in our real lives. We dreamed he was anything
we wanted him to be, unlike our boyfriends,
husbands, fathers. When he came back
to us as good Fred Andrews, faded father,
forlorn and forthright, furrows careworn
in his brow--like ours, stigmata
of worry and burden--he wore
plaid shirts, jeans, and work boots
Hamlet-like. He hath, like us,
that within that passeth show,
the wound unseen. He forgave us
our broken marriages, our wayward,
unreconcilable children. Saint Fred,
patron of goodness under temptation,
of the small-town lost world
that never was any better than rotten
at the core, let our serial dreams
say what they would. Out of the countless
deaths today, this one made us
mourn, this idea's premature grave.
It could have been us. A real man died
too young, and though someone's loss
will last, we can forget. Thank goodness
for this easy grief, this dress rehearsal.
Copyright © 2019 Jennifer Brown. All rights reserved.