Tears remain

Be careful.
Keep safe.
Don’t get into trouble.
If trouble comes looking for you . . .
run!

So they told him –
those who loved him,
who heard his first cries,
who held him at his birth,
those who would protect him
from a world in which children
die too soon
so often
that no tears remain to shed for them.
Be careful.
Keep safe.
Don’t get into trouble.
If trouble comes looking for you . . .
run!
He heard their words
and learned them well.
When gunshots
tore the silence
of the street where he played,
he ran.
For cover he ran;
for safety he ran;
for his very life he ran.
Following the sidewalk;
cutting through the grass;
leaping up the steps, he ran –
his heart racing
faster than his feet.
Sprinting across the porch;
throwing open the door;
stumbling through the doorstep, he ran –
entering what should have been the safety
of his own home.
Filled with fear
and their words, he ran still –
his fingers touched the bannister
as he began to mount the stairs
that led to his room,
the wall beside him exploded –
a chunk of hot lead
ripping through vinyl siding,
spraying drywall,
violating his body,
tearing life from him.
Be careful.
Keep safe.
Don’t get into trouble.
If trouble comes looking for you . . .
run!
So they told him –
those who loved him,
who heard his final gasps,
who held him as his lifeblood pooled around him
those who tried, but could not protect him
from a world in which children
die too soon
so often
yet still tears remain to shed for them. 

15 August 2001
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Cleveland Heights, Poem

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s