04/01/2014 04:47 pm ET Updated Jun 01, 2014

For My Brother

During my father's slow avalanche to death, my brother was a tireless advocate on his behalf, a bodhisattva in the way he cleared debris and made things easier for everyone around him. I was in a plane over the Pacific Ocean when I finally wrote this poem for him.

For My Brother

You were there when I had cancer
and now you've carried Dad through
the rickety bridge of his bones to what-
ever time is left. And somehow you are
tending the argument that is our mother
like a kettle without a handle.

For all your gifts, your care is the well
that has no bottom and, though hoisting
it up bucket by bucket turns you inside
out, that you know no other way
makes you my hero.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a time when you gave more than you thought you had to give; how that felt and how doing so changed you.

For more poetry for the soul, click here.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.