Monday, September 24, 2012


not because it is his birthday
why you'd have seen him on TV
but because, at 42, he has passed away

and I am wondering why-
what a green, strong tree he was or I thought he was
strong and sturdy, always bright spirited

acknowledge only now that I used to envy
his seeming always to be on top of the world
on top of the mountain I was still climbing,
struggling to get to the summit of

I recall my surprise, two years ago,
upon commenting on how forward looking-
forward thinking he was- upon commented
on how aware he was of anyone or anything I mentioned

he pointed out that for more than twenty years
once every week, he meet with a support group
of survivors of drug abuse 

he used to abuse drugs, he confessed
that support group he said was his salvation

how incredulous, I thought
what an honor it was though
to be entrusted with his secret,
with what seemed unimaginable

is his having passed away attached to that old habit
was there relapse or was separation
from his wife to blame, breakup of a fragile family

I am well aware that the loss of such stability
can leave you off balance - that is if
you fail otherwise to get a grip

what could this loss of life be linked to, I wonder

certainly thought he'd have been around for decades
did not expect him to predeceased me
as rickety as this ride that I am on has become

what sturdy stuff he seemed made of
what could have lead to his sucking in
and expiring his last breath

was it of natural causes that he died-
was it an accident- was he murdered- God forbid

hope that was not the case
that he was robbed of life senselessly- needlessly

hope he was not wrenched violently from this world
part of this nation's horrible statistics- the body count,
the numbers mounting until the corpses in a heap
can be heaped up no more- mothers mourning for sons
gone too soon

he was from the good side of the tracks
those given to contemplation, reflection-
those used to stepping aside for others to get by

he always seemed as fearless
as he seemed happy: above it all
by what bullet or blow was he brought low

will have to wait to hear from his dear mother
from his sister or one of his three brothers

the four of them as close to me as siblings of my own
the wall between the yards of our two families
was unable at all to divide us, unable to keep us apart

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2012
1:41 p.m.  19.09.12


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