May 7th, 2004
ten years later
and I see your face
exactly as it was—still only a memory
in a newspaper. You haven’t made a sound
for ten years, and we’ve all forgotten
too much. We still had contact with you
way back then (when it happened).
Jokes in homeroom turned to tears
when news spread. Morning announcements
could do nothing to help. Later, we played baseball—
what else could we do?
We went to school and learned.
But you were there then—we all could feel it.
What about now? I can still cry, like today,
but you are memory, missing friends to maintain you.
A mind misplaces, displaces, replaces those memories
until we just don’t know for sure:
The last day we hung out
The best time we had
The nicest words we shared…
Man, was it really this late in the school year?
This close to graduation?
This hard to understand?

I never went to visit you when we said we would
I went to Clovernook Park instead,
and you were still there on the field—
where you belonged in my version of life.
But I didn’t go and I’m sorry to you and your family
because I had no other way of showing I cared.
I came to terms with you years ago, since you knew
all along I’m just afraid of facing
my own permanent brush
with satin and mahogany.