Oh Brother

in Poetry


By Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel

b. 1918, d. 2007


Poet's note: Poetry waits for no man, woman or bird in a tree, such as one outside my window now.


Let him talk, Lottie always says. Talk is cheap as long as he's got breath, and so far, Deke has got plenty of that. He's my own full brother. I reckon he's a lot like me, but his imagination runs high. Me, I don't really have no imagination, When Deke starts spouting that poetic stuff, I get a real stomach ache.

You take last night. He drifted in here when I was almost ready for bed. He was higher than a kite, but he don't drink, never did, wouldn't take drugs if someone shot him.

What he had, was what he's got bad, this wild imagination. He quoted a rigamarole about the sun shining gold on his bankrupt life and the moon raining silver in his palm.

I ask you folks, how would you like to have a brother like that?



Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel’s poetry and fiction recount her long, colorful story and those of the times and places she lived, from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to the California Central Valley. It’s there that her family settled, and she picked produce for other people's tables, while she gathered the words that became her art and made her the Poet Laureate of Tulare. Read more about Elizabeth here.

Photo credit: Eric LaMontagne via a Creative Commons license.