For Mike

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and this… this is for Mike. Mike was another homeschool alum like me. He was a college classmate and my friend. I want so much for the homeschool community to recognize that we have pain and problems also. Not just public school kids. I want people like Mike to find healing, to not feel alone. 

I first read this poem on November 16, 2012 at the UCCS FreeX Poetry club open mic at Clyde’s on campus. Mike died on November 13, 2012.

The last words on your blog
haunt me like lyrics hesitating,
doubting they’ll travel far enough
to reach another sound.
“Because I love music,
hate depression
and love therapy,” the post begins.
The warmth of your phrases
radiates out into the chill of cyberspace,
growing numb and rigid,
embalmed in HTML code.

You set out like an adventurer
clad in the music of your mandolin
across the snow-cloaked wilderness,
always wrapped in sunshine.
Now the light pales
and your song fades
into my vacant reading
of stale, month-old Facebook statuses.

Your wide smile
and brown-eyed laughter
are an echo now,
reverberating memories
like the perpetual vibrating
of my smartphone,
reminding me of things to not forget.
Somehow, I didn’t feel them in time,
the echoes come too late,
too late for anyone to intervene.

Why was I too blind
to notice the red blotches dribbling
between the lines
of our casual conversations,
to see the wounds originating from your soul?  

If music was your healer, friend,
we all would have sung to you
from the bottom of the dark well,
watched with you for the stars to show up
through the dark night of the heart.
If depression sunk its tapered teeth
deep into the caverns of your chest,
we’d have tourniqueted the wound,
and rode with you through the soundwaves
of the ambulance’s siren.
If therapy was what your soul hungered for,
love longed to satisfy.  

But now no one can feed
the flames of a song in the twilight,
or keep the breath in its crescendo
from fading into sunset.
Two days too late,
and I cannot resuscitate these inanimate words.
I reach out,
fingertips feeling for your final thoughts
as they grow cold.  

If you or anyone else needs help, please know that you are important and you are wanted. // National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 // TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms//

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