She sits opposite him gazing over the bare table
realizing he’s only the same age as her son
his eyes hold fear beneath the glass that covers
all his emotions, it’s the protective lid he’s
hidden  beneath for years to survive but now
is raised as he faces her and finds she’s like his Mom.

She has one question that he cannot answer
which holds the key to his heart and life
why did he go to that kitchen drawer
before he left for school that morning
why didn’t he take the lunch that he left behind.

James was sitting on the campus bench
quietly eating peanut butter sarnies, muffins
not bothering anyone, alone!  He sat beside
and suddenly stabbed, he took a bitten sarnie

and the cops came as James was dying
and now Sally sits opposite needing
his answer, he mumbles “sorry, I don’t know
he was just there and I was hungry”.

She knows there can never be reparation
for her son will never walk through the door,
she’ll never know his wife, or children
for he’ll never meet her, they’ll not be born

but she’s confronting this boy discovers
why he went to that kitchen drawer
needs to stop him and others like him
from following the fashion of the blade

she’ll know James will live in others
unknown boys who will grow in to men
with futures unscarred by the blade.

© 2017, 
Carolyn O’Connell

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