How many more good and kind things would you have done in this life?
A blank canvas framed in sturdy wood now broken and sealed away.
What future inspirations rising from today’s possibilities,
if the uncertain outline of your kindness hadn’t been colored in by spite?
Rays of attention and care that you beamed on those
who never grew under such light,
illuminating hopes lying detached in some dark corner of self.
What did it mean to be the recipient of such warmth?
To restrain greed and embrace this light with grace instead.
Where to hold this joy and know it in the body?
This glow showing him a new way home seemed less certain,
as if the weather was changing and clouds moving in.
Not wanting to allow another loss, he took her thinning light
and amplified it, as a laser, exposing, then agitating his nerves until
there was nothing left but well known suffering.
When the news of your abduction broke into the world,
we reassured ourselves with what we knew about you.
Your calm power, a core skill in any hostage negotiation.
We felt so certain this would end okay.
But you were already murdered, just minutes in.
Weeks of nightly news full of gaping holes
for us looking out at a media that stepped in
to explain what it didn’t know to those who knew less.
There were respectfully appropriated smudge ceremonies,
heartfelt conversations, and those team debriefings
like a shove through the door of a public grief I could not join.
Months passed and the memory of the event was still making me ill.
Uncertainty set in of my healing process.
The psychologist I went to said my story triggered him too much,
left me a voicemail to find someone else.
Accepting ‘Don’t Know’ in my mind, there is still grief here.
I have typed all that I know and now this brush falls from my hand.
No canvas or banner or mile-long mural can show
all the good and kind and neverknown things you would have done.