In my first attempt at this poem, I said
His eyes rose like a green sun,
But I don’t know what I was trying to convey.
Of course the sun isn’t green, and can’t be.
I guess I only meant that his eyes,
A lurid colour of green,
Seemed to burn just above the horizon.
I just wanted to indicate that his eyes were glowing,
Or that they appeared to glow.
And they rose to meet mine,
Just as the sun does,
And that I can’t bear to look into them
Any more than I can stand to stare into the sun.
I think that is what I was getting at.
I meant that his eyes made an impression,
And I will never forget them.
Even after they’ve descended in the western mist,
I will still feel a bit overheated and overexposed
From spending too much time in their glare.
You were always object lesson,
Never role model, and I only knew
I should never be like you.
Your death was early and tragic,
As expected, your last conscious
Moments spent reaching for the door
Of a home engulfed in flame.
Through tear-filled eyes,
Those who had nothing but
Criticism for you when alive
Expressed their own shock and
Grief with a final tinge of judgment.
“If it had anything to do with drugs,
I don’t even want to know,” they sobbed.
At that moment, I think I understood
Both false feeling and blaming the
Victim. No mention of your trauma,
Your alcoholic father, your abuse, or
Your desperate struggle for
Acceptance. For the first time,