Brothers do not speak of worry and fear.
They talk about work to be done,
a physical answer to an unspoken question.
Fix the barn roof, build the fence, repair the toilet.
Solid talismans they wield in the face of uncertainty;
daily prayers for men who know
only one way to control the unexpected deployment
of one of them, the band of brothers.
Discuss ladders, nails and plumbing.
Do not speak what cannot be spoken:
that he is not here;
that we do not know when he might return;
that we do not know where he is.
What we can control is here.
There is work to be done.
They mark off the to-do list
that, when completed (nothing left to chance)
will guarantee their brother’s safe return.
Intently, bearing tools of construction
they ward off the possibility that war might destroy
their band of brothers.