Our Jonghyun

Dear Jonghyun:  


For a writer, I’ve never been good at



I know no truth.

Fiction is my realm, what I work, what I crave, my root,

Weaving tale after tale of imagined events, angst-riddled with movie-perfect endings, and

Death was a figment, a character I was free to puppeteer in typeface.

But that morning of ghosts stole away the funhouse mirrors,

Real ringmaster revealed,

Strings tied ‘round my own fingers.

6:23 on that winter day one week before Christmas when the world went quiet, ears ringing in

the silence left by your stilled heartbeat,

Sun eclipsed by too tall, unclimbable horizon in that dark of pre-dawn.


You Were Gone, You Were Gone, You Are Gone.


I call myself silly often.

I never knew you,

Shouldn’t be broken up over your death.

Your Suicide.

The word doesn’t taste right in my mouth next to your name.

You were a person.

Now you’re a

Wound, thistle, thorn in the hearts of the four boys who knew you best and the sister who

Found you.

Now you’re

Past tense verbs and

Memorials and a

Cautionary tale and a


Of a disease systemic, statistic part of an epidemic—

A perfect blend of honesty, despair, the tragedy of artistry.


I heard it said once hope is but a fragile thing with feathers.

Guess life stripped you of the few you had, too scrawny to fly, little penguin.

Your shadow was big enough to make us believe you escaped,

Big enough to make us believe you could.

Your shadow turns to jacket-straight.

Your shadow turns to shroud.


Missing you always,

Your Shawol

This poem is about: 
My community
Our world


Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741