To L, to D and Everyone Else Punctured by A.S’s Death

A certain luxury surrounds boredom.
Restlessness and
Being overwhelmed by
A lack of purpose
Come cushioned in moments
Of calm existence
Where most things
Are humming along smoothly.

Particularly on days off,
Boredom can only crop up
During non-emergencies.
There are no ceilings leaking,
Broken toilets or pipes,
No holdups at gunpoint, job firings,
Broken bones and subsequent
Hospital visits from
Being thrown off a horse or
Being whacked and cut down
By someone holding
A lacrosse stick.

No one has
Accidentally shot himself
And died either,
Unlike today.

Morning ablutions unfolded
With predictable dullness
Creeping up
Until this news–
So shocking in its
Brutality of finality–
Punctured my peace,
Fractured my maternal mind,
Caved in my soul’s skull
About what’s supposed to happen
And what is absolutely not.

I don’t know many details
But I know enough.
That this young man,
A budding musician,
Had gotten a new gun.
And, while handling it this morning,
In all of its deadly shiny majesty,
The gun may have malfunctioned,
Been tricky to use–I don’t know–
But went off and fired
In such a way
That cost him his life.

I don’t know his family at all
but I do know his girlfriend’s.
So I had seen him over
At their house and
Had conversed with him a bit.

I remember remarking to myself
At the time how sunny
His personality was.
He was a younger guy
But confident and
Comfortable enough with himself
To chat lightly with adults
He didn’t know.

He said he had a job flipping burgers
At the time that was “so-so”
But was optimistic about
Finding other work at some point.
He didn’t appear to be
Bogged down with hefty worry
Or negativity that I could sense.

As a mother who watched
His girlfriend grow up
Throughout the years,
I had to smile inside, for her,
Because he seemed like
Such a nice kid and
I was glad she had found him.

I don’t know a lot about him, but
What I know most is that
He loved his girlfriend
Dearly and tenderly.

Already talented and embedded
In the local music scene,
He had his own interests
To focus on and develop
And could have just spent
Most of his energy
Furthering himself.

Yet, he roundly supported
Her efforts to perform and
To regularly host open mic nights
By always attending,
Helping to organize,
Orchestrating the technology
To produce the shows,
And generally being
One of her biggest fans.

I lack many details
About other parts of his life
When he wasn’t with his girlfriend.
But as a mother,
I do know this–

That he encompassed many qualities
You hope your daughter can find
In a partner–
An avid supporter,
A best friend who
Expresses genuine interest in
And commitment to
Doing what he can to
Further your daughter’s happiness
With kindness and love.

I sat stunned today
And took this loss hard,
Even from my distant chair,
As a mother,
As family friend–
A life taken too early–
An obscene punch in the gut
Leave taking
That doubled me over

“I’m sorry” is insufficient
And may never be enough.



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