Choosing Death

You were just a boy

when you came to us—

a gentle soul—

an artist—

with a big smile.

We gave you food and water

and let you feast your eyes

on blue skies,

stone mountains,

flowered meadows.

We led you to the

gates of life,

unlocked them,

pushed them back

on creaking hinges,

just for you.

And you smiled—

that warm,

sunshiny,

happy smile of yours—

the same smile

I saw just now

when you kissed death,

let him take your hand

and lead you into shadowlands.

And I don’t know what to do,

paralyzed in this beautiful life

that God meant for you,

watching you go,

praying you’ll come back,

knowing that smiles don’t last

with the dead.

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