When I was five
my toddler brother almost died;
a peanut from a piece of Baby Ruth
winged its way into his windpipe
from the candy bar Dad left on top
of the crib rail; hiding in the damp
of the clothes hamper I heard
the awful halt of Kevin’s choking wail
and Mom’s frantic calls for Dad
to come back in from the driveway

Unlike other memories the truth
of this one’s refreshed by family lore
and a couple of old photos:
the five hour rush to the hospital
in the big city for special surgery,
Dad pulled over for speeding and
the policeman giving us a siren escort,
Kevin blue and barely breathing,
my siblings left at home with Aunty,
that lonely week at Grandmother’s  
Louisville home playing by myself

Before he died at 40 Kevin was an actor
and a tap dancer and a lover of men;
in light-hearted banter at family events
we blame it on that piece of Baby Ruth