what happens when they leave you

I first found it amongst the pages of a summer reading book,

when Johnny did it because he was just 



and because he was an outsider,

and that was sad too,

but I couldn't figure out what made him do it,

because nothing seemed that sad out here,

and so I decided that it must be truly awful

in there

and that was that.


I first saw it in High School,

when Anthony's smile tore him limb from limb,

and gnawed at his gut,

each tooth pulling away

at another piece of his sanity.

he was only fifteen,

and the children wept,

and Anthony slept,

and not even his mother's tears

spilling on to his cold tired cheek,

as she knelt by his bed for the very last time,

to kiss him goodnight,

could wake him up.

I saw it in all of us,

as we lined up and asked ourselves,

why we were all wearing black

when blue was his favorite color.


I first felt it my freshman year of college,

when I was home on spring break,

and Joe decided that he was just too angry,

and when he decided

that a big fat bullet,

was a perfectly good trade,

for a little peace and quiet.

and I felt it when I realized that the last words,

to escape my lips,

were "why are you here?"

when they should have been,

"why don't you stay?"

and I could feel it in the faces of my fellow members

of the graduating class of how could we

as even still they thought, "why me?"

when they should have been thinking,

"why him?"


But I didn't understand it

until four o'clock,

on a Thursday morning,

when nobody was there,

except my lonely dark thoughts,

and my soul was empty,

though my heart was overflowing,

and the voices inside were crushing all the rest,

and an entire bottle of Benedryl seemed like a really good chance,

to take a little nap.



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