(In memory of JL)

“Did you see the concavity in his eyes?”

It only took 5 minutes.
I was typing a message to him.
Punctuation was all wrong.
I took too long to fix it.

I try not to care too much
about correctness now.
Proper grammar & spelling
won’t save a life.

It only took 5 minutes.
He violated every term &
condition policy with the photo.
Myspace removed it so fast.
In 5 minutes.

No one knew if it was
“a joke” or not.

I hit “send” & prayed.
I hit “send” 5 minutes
too late.

This wasn’t some movie.
This wasn’t some short
story idea.
This was waiting & chain-
Chain-smoking & waiting.

Back then it was too far
to Las Vegas. Back then,
the thought of anyone
really killing themselves
was on another planet.

It was a quiet kind of
confirmation. No big
production. No tearful
or hysterical phone call
to inform us.

It was just a few lines
through messenger.
“I’m sorry…it’s true…
he’s gone.”

Our faces were vacant.
I read my stupid wasted
message to him.
Over & over.
Then we all got wasted.

The barren bottles
started to shatter
when we landed in the
galaxy of realization.

We all crash landed at
the same time–
but he still wasn’t there.

He was our atrium.
Now he’s a ventricle:
A hollow,
space in our hearts.

But that’s something.
He’s still something.
“Maybe we could have done
But he always insisted
when we asked about it
that it was “nothing”.

And in 5 minutes,
he blew his life away.

I try not to.
But I think about
him every day.


© Jennifer Patino (2016)

* Note: I should have written this years ago when my friend took his own life. I think it was just too hard then. Too hard to try and be poetic about something I never imagined in a billion years could ever happen. I think about him too much. I think about what to take seriously and what not to worry about when it comes to my friends and loved ones when they say certain things. This poem is a true story. It happened just like this. And it shouldn’t have happened. Dammit, it just shouldn’t have happened. Rest easy, buddy. The fun times we had live on.¬†

If you or someone you know is struggling please don’t hesitate to call:

1 (800) 273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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