For Joe

Joe, they tell me

If you could talk to us now

You would say sorry

But I think

We should apologize too

Because we get to taste snowflakes

See lightbulbs flicker

And hear out of tune guitars


Joe, I hope that wherever you are

Your words aren’t limited

By the boundaries of human speech

Because writing this to you

Is so damn difficult


Joe, your mom has those blue eyes

And your dad has the gap between his front teeth,

Like you did

And for a while,

They were whispering shadows

Around your light


Joe, I can’t fathom that you’re not here

Ordering graduation robes or

Playing minecraft in class or

Making notes come out of your bass clarinet and overflow

Over the bandroom

Like the constant jokes

You used to tell when our sides were already splitting

Or maybe our eyes were rolling at the timing or

When we let out small, annoyed but mostly amused sighs

At your - granted - inappropriate humor

I wish I had listened

I wish I could recall just one joke you told

I wish we could have given you, all the love you needed

And I wish...I wish we could complain about Senior year together

But I don’t think you were the type to complain anyway


Joe, the nerf club has lots of battles without you

And the band plays lots of shows

Youth group keeps meeting every Sunday

But I always find you here

At the intersection between forgiveness and love

You forgot that you were loved, didn’t you?


Joe, you fooled us

Into thinking you were happy

I don’t know

Maybe you were

But sometimes in the brief moment

When happiness is suspended

We forget who we are

And you must have forgotten

To charge into the sunset

Arms wide open

Like you always said,

“For Narnia”


Joe, he wants to get a tattoo

Of the day you died

In hebrew on his wrist

And with the bible verse

“Nothing can separate us from the love of God”

Did you hear that, Joe?

Not even suicide




The last line really got me feeling what you felt when writing this poem. 

Great great job. *Thumbs up*

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