Larry Schug


As If We Were Not Brothers


May 17th.

Today will always be your birthday,

though you’ll never be older

than the forty-eight years you were given.

I’m left to wonder if the nineteen years since

would have been enough time for us to seek peace

in the war between us

that began with a god damn war in Asia

that you were itching to enter,

a war I wanted to flee, but couldn’t;

a war, it turned out, that neither of us had to fight,

yet somehow escalated into constant sniping,

senseless battles fought on the home front,

though we managed to maintain a truce of sorts,

a cold war of silence and distance

learned from our father,

as we warily watched each other

across guarded borders we drew in the sand,

both of us too stubborn to wave white flags,

as if we were not brothers.


Today, on the day you’d have been sixty-seven,

I’m left to ponder what peace means

when one side just leaves the battlefield,

killed by time, a common, though fickle enemy.

It doesn’t mean I won anything, merely having survived.

Maybe we both lost everything.

Though you’re gone, I feel like the loser,

no one left to fight but myself,

my own stupid stubbornness, right or wrong,

though right or wrong has no meaning anymore,

except that I’ve learned there is a way I need to live

and that you never had the time to figure that out,

both of us foolishly obstinate in mutual silence,

as if we were not brothers.  

Larry Schug is retired after a life of various kinds of physical labor. He lives with his wife, dog, and three cats near a large tamarack bog in St. Wendel Township, Minnesota. Larry is the author of seven books of poems, the latest being At Gloaming, with North Star Press. He currently volunteers as a writing tutor at the College of St. Benedict Writing Center and as a naturalist at Outdoor U. (St. John's University).  His web site is



Deep Water Literary Journal

2015 - Issue 2 - August





Elizabeth Bodien (USA)

All Souls' Night


Chanel Brenner (USA)

Back at the El Encanto Twenty Years Later


Claire Vogel Camargo (USA)

Touching the Edge of Darkness


Saddiq Dzukogi (Nigeria)



S.E. Gale (Australia)

The Reliquary


Gary Glauber (USA)

In Philippa’s Hands




Clare Hepworth-Wain (England)

To mark her passing


Strider Marcus Jones (England)

The Two Saltimbanques


Robert S. King (USA)

Inside a Photograph

The Ghosts of Machu Picchu


Steve Klepetar (USA)

almost from the first

If It Comes to That


Ron. Lavalette (USA)



Sada Malumfashi (Nigeria)



Rasmenia Massoud (France)

Ghosts in My Skin

Open Mike Night


Catfish McDaris (USA)

Gone Amazon

Soldier Blues


Pat J Mullan (Ireland)

Mother Perfection


Christine Murray (Ireland)




Heather Mydosh (USA)



Caleb J. Oakes (USA)

Extended Forms of Hunger

Frown For Me


David O’Neill (Ireland)

Decisions in the Dark Room


Rachel C. Peters (USA)



Mark Antony Rossi (USA)

This Ancient City

Transatlantic Transfiguration


Walter Ruhlmann (France)

Distorted Echo

The Lips of the Wolf


John Saunders (Ireland)

Murphy is Out for the Summer


Terry Savoie (USA)

Buttermilk Poem


Larry Schug (USA)

As If We Were Not Brothers


Pepper Swell (USA)

Cold Fury


The Man in the Black Pyjamas (Ireland)