I had a mate; his gentle face a marred reflection of the pain he divined in others.
When a new kid in heavy leg brace hobbled into class we chose to stay away.
Shunned, he glowered; his face a doleful veil.
My friend sang to him, read to him, lunched with him, danced with him;
gave him back his life.
When my friend was seventeen noxious chatter poisoned his mind.
Relentless, it drove away his joy.
An astronomy lesson turned bizarre; “fourteen
planets”, he insisted; he named them all.
He fled from school certain it was the source
of the inescapable clamorous war whose Ground Zero was in his head.
He ran from his family.
Bewildered, they sought desperate remedies in sterile, guarded places with padded walls.
“I want to go home” he moaned in anguish.
Frantic, he bit; roughly, he was restrained, tied to his bed.
Broken, he withdrew; alone with his despair, wide shocked eyes;
his hell worsened by those he trusted most.
I visited him for the final time;
tortured soul visible through vacuous eyes.
I hugged him tightly, kissed his downcast head.
It felt like I embraced stone; cold, lifeless.
His heart beat, yet, felt aught.
I spoke his name; unresponsive, he stared.
In tears I fled.
Later on I heard, he just closed those eyes;
relinquishing his hold on his beautiful soul;
at last silencing the voices.
He found his peace
Copyright © JAY HERMAN