In the past few years, I have been only a few degrees separated from young men committing suicide. Every time I feel gutted, not just for the loss of a life in the world - though that is not nothing; the universe is elementally changed without their thoughts, music, art, potential - but because I'm the kind of person who delves into trying to Understand the How and the Why and the What Next from all points of view. And, the deaths I've experienced more closely have come after a period of knowing & sorrowful expectation, the perfect thing for a control freak if she has to deal with loss; suicide is often a sudden brash blow. Here, not here. Defying explanation, unlike a fatal car accident that we can at least reconstruct and, though still devastating for its end, package neatly in our psyches.
I'm trying to make some sense of a senseless thing, so I write.
I didn't know this boy
like I know my boy
and his friends: loose-limbed, loud-laughing, wide-eyed worried
New on the school bus, I side-eyed
their thick bodies smashing all the space,
grabbing at life like starving dogs
while sneaking secret smiles.
I knew them.
Later on campus, I watched
their sure-bodied measured moves carrying them
like princes on parade,
they wavered at my raised eyebrow,
walked on with bravado.
I know them.
They would rather run and punch and yell and kick
and rail and scrape and howl and break
and pull the trigger
A mother wakes
thinking of her children
because that is how she stays alive.
What happens when
Can she live?
Can she think?
Can she wake?