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Author's note: The poem is Grief by Emily Dickinson.

The Poem
by Ashley

There's this poem that I read sometimes when I get sad. Its on this worn paper with tattered edges. I've had it for years, I keep it near me always, as a safety net of memories. A cousin of mine, James, gave it to me years ago, the day after my mom's funeral. Before that day though James and I had never really shared a conversation. Even afterwards we hardly talk but at family reunions we'll sit by each other and share a bond deeper then words, in some ways I am closer to him than the rest of my family.

I remember reading it the first time, I was in my mom's closet wrapped in one of her shirts. At first I did nothing I just sat in there and cried, thinking of the loneliness, but days later I found myself pulling it out and rereading it and the loneliness seemed to faded away slowly and less painfully than before. I've never told anyone about it and usually I don't even think about it, but yesterday was Mr. Fordman's funeral and all I've been able to think about since yesterday is Whitney and death. I keep remembering how it felt to be the one standing there as someone I loved was lowered into the ground. I'll be the first to admit that Whitney and I aren't friends but now we hold death as one holds a battle scar. I find it sadly amusing how death can cause common ground to emerge between to different people.

It was last night during the funeral, when I was overwhelmed with death and sadness, for everyone who died, and for those that didn't. When I realized there was something I might be able to do to help Whitney. To show him that one day he'll be able to breathe again. That his memories will stop being heart-wrenching tortures but become tiny treasures that will keep his father alive. That all the tears he has shed and all the ones still to come will one day slow to only a trickle. Today I want to stop thinking about me and build a bridge of friendship, to a boy whom I know not what to say.

That is what has brought me here, standing outside The Talon, in the pouring rain. A poem and a silent prayer, it is all I have to give him. Its all I know that might, in some small way, give comfort. I peer at him through a window, with slow and steadying breathes, I gather my courage and walk through the doors. I walk slowly to his table, trying to come up with words that might explain. As my trembling hands give him the small hand-written note our eyes catch, I know exactly what to say. Nothing. He doesn't need, nor want my sorrys, because his eyes say that he is tired. Tired of saying that its not their fault, of being strong in front of us. Tired of being torn be the feelings of loneliness and the need to be alone. So I continue my walk, never looking back. I recall be heart the last part of the poem.

The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies, ญญ
Death is but one and comes but once,
And only nails the eyes.
There's grief of want, and grief of cold, ญญ
A sort they call 'despair;'
There's banishment from native eyes,
In sight of native air.
And though I may not guess the kind
Correctly, yet to me
A piercing comfort it affords
In passing Calvary,
To note the fashions of the cross,
Of those that stand alone,
Still fascinated to presume
That some are like my own.

As I pass by the cemetery and smell the freshly dug dirt. I silently sent out a thought out to Whitney not to worry there are many like his own.