You were sitting on the ground
in the tot park
in the middle of a sunny Sunday afternoon.
You were leaned back against
the brick stand for the drinking fountain,
wearing a dark blue security guard's uniform.
You looked to me
as if you were just so tired
that you had stopped there
and fallen asleep.
I asked you if you were all right...
your head was to one side,
like a little boy who had drifted off
while watching television.
You had on black shoes, and I had the odd thought
that you may have sat just this way,
years and years ago,
when someone taught you to tie them
on some other, happier,
I feel certain,
though I don't really know,
that somebody loved you.
I feel certain, too,
that I will not forget the sight of your bright red blood
or your things--your wallet and keys--
placed so neatly at your side.
Why did you do this?
Did you think no one would cry?
I happen to know
that the lady on the bicycle, who found you, did...
and that she wishes, quite sharply,
that you had not made such a heartbreaking choice.
This is not a made-up story. Yesterday afternoon, riding my bike across the local kiddie park on my way home, I found the body of a young man who had shot himself in the chest just minutes earlier. I called 911, but he was dead. I don't know what to do with that. I keep seeing him, sitting there, looking so young and defenseless. So I wrote this poem.