Matthew Lowen

Answers
don’t come easy
and the sympathy card
I delivered
with trembling hands
was a mere stab at
believing
in something.

Maybe I could have
died the other night
on that busy street
squabbling over a few
green bills.
He with the gun,
me with my Friday night plans.
Maybe.

Tina’s nephew
was shot in the face,
and then some.
It happened just the other day,
but it will never stop
happening.  It was
two days after
Thanksgiving, which
will never be the same again
for Tina and her family.
Never.

I spend every Tuesday
evening in prison
with men who will spend every
last one of their Tuesdays
in prison.
When I told them
every last one said
sorry for
what happened
in some way.
They don’t have
any answers
either.

 

Thanksgiving night
out for a walk
under the nearly full moon.
Standing beneath
the sycamore trees
in the wind.
I watched
a sailor climb out of a taxi
bound up the stairs,
a box with a bow under his
arm.

This  was going to be
good.

I still hear that mother’s cry
at the return of a son
and the closing of distance.
It rings in my memory
over and over, echoing
down the blustery
cold night.
If only my card could
have contained a mother’s cry
and a son’s arrival, or
something close to an answer.

But answers
never come easy,
and sympathy cards, like
Tuesdays and Friday night holdups
will never stop
happening.

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