My Friend the Foster Kid

(poems go here) You left a long time ago
AWOL, Mom said
Gone for years
Until
I finally heard about you
Ronald Resendez
What are you doing?

Roni are you still so handsome
Roni would you even recognize me
Roni did you forget
Roni do you remember how we used to play basketball in my driveway
How we used to go shopping for clothes in Macy's
How we ate Starbursts at Target
How we used to get ice cream at Coldstone

And then that one time
I knew it was bad
Like that one time, Roni
You showed me your mark
That little black dot on your elbow
Tough, right?
Roni what was it like?
Roni what did you do?
Roni what did they do to you?

Sometimes I think
It's good you forgot about us
You did bad things
You were with bad people
Your gang
What if you came and hurt us
And my family
But no one ever came and hurt us
Maybe you did love us

Roni no one ever taught you how to get better
You were always bad, they said
Everyone probably told you that you were bad
Did anyone ever treat you right?
We treated you right
Why weren't we enough
To change you
No one believed in you
You weren't lucky
You weren't like me
1
Maybe, Roni, you could tell me what it's like there
Do you have friends
Are you happy
Is this everything you expected your life to be
Do you wear orange jumpsuits
Do you get one call a day
Do you sit behind glass and talk to visitors
I don't know what it's like

Roni if we were together now
I would show you
That you can fix it
We can go to Coldstone
And tattoos are removable
No little black dots
You don't have to be with them
You can come to school with me
We can still be friends
I can show you what a family is
I can show you what role models are
I can show you how to grow up
In that place no one ever gave you

What were you thinking Roni?
I didn't know money at a Shell gas station was worth so much
Did you sharpen your knives before you did it?
Did you plan on aiming for the neck?
Do you always threaten people by holding guns before their faces?
Did you know you were going to steal two cars that night?
How many bullets did you put in your handgun?
Did you plan on shooting him four times?
Roni when did you start waking up in the morning and decide you wanted to be a bad person?
When did you decide to be a killer, Roni?
The newspaper didn't tell me, Roni
And neither did you

And I cried for you Roni
I did your crying for you
And I wanted to visit you
But I thought
He doesn't know me
He doesn't want me
Roni we are friends
Roni you were almost my brother
But he thinks he doesn't need me
Tough, right?
But I'm not afraid of you
You're nothing
Roni you almost killed someone
And now you're in jail.

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