For a Senior Killed on Prom Night
It's useless to pretend you would have been
a genius. I taught you and I know.
You made the team, but others made it win.
A ready smile made up for being slow.
You'd have been ordinary in the end:
the hardest worker someone ever had,
one woman's husband and one man's best friend,
recipient of cards for "world's best dad."
So why, where you'd have been, is there a blank
so huge, a hole where all thoughts go to die?
The world has only lost one of its rank
and file. You didn't even make me cry.
Why do I go outside at one a.m.
and search the stars as though I'd numbered them?
2005; originally printed in The Formalist.
by permission of the author.