A life unlived, cut short before reaching ten
I need a good head start, you said –
on the way back from the park
one last sprint uphill, road clear
girls, lunch (smoothies, ice cream) waiting.
count to ten, eyes closed, promise, you said –
One: I heard you, feet light, racing
Two: Imagined you sun washed rising
Three: fearing not the heat, shining
Four: love armoured, bright a star
Five: on the track, in the class much prized
Six: full scholarship to MIT
Seven: introducing us to Mary
Eight: then your twins, Daniel and Eve
Ni…..metal screams hot, tyres burn braking
Unhinged I run, you lie unwinged
Unmoving, blood haloed, fading
Briefly eyes open, willed focus
“did I win?”
“Yes, Dan, yes you did.”
Inside me you still live racing
effortless moving away up that hill
never reaching ten
There is something quite disturbing when a life is suddenly cut short, isn’t there. And so young too.
Your poem illustrates the suddenness so well, and without actually stating the cause your skill with words allows us all to imagine it.
I like the way in which your protagonist lives on to remember the deceased. There is a bonus (?) in being remembered in the prime of life, fit and able – it’s almost an honour.
Thank you for your comments Allen. Memories never die, are placed where they can be reached when needed.
Sad poem. It gives the visuals needed to connect and a nice alternate history.
This poem came about when a colleague shared the death of his son with me. He blamed himself for keeping his promise and his eyes closed.