you were swept out to sea by a wave and drowned

you rode your bike through a puddle electrified by underground wires

crushed by a wheel that came bouncing, bounding over the center divider at 65 MPH

you died of an aneurysm no one ever suspected

it got dark and cold, cold

and i think about you every day, kid

even though we weren’t close

i don’t know what you thought of me, if anything (i figured you didn’t bother to think of me, because you were too busy trying to become the adult you were never given the chance to be)

but i respected you, kid. so hard working, so disciplined

(who even knew you were a kid? your family did. your little sister did.)

you were just a kid, really, after all. whatever i saw in the coffin had nothing to do with you. that wasn’t your destiny. you didn’t deserve what you got. your family didn’t deserve that.

i think about you, your smile, your grin— and what is there to say? now it all seems so pointless.

nothing to say and nothing to do about it now.

no way to go back, no way to fix anything, no way it will ever be different or better.

the steps can’t be retraced. that saturday never returns.

the chain of events, the accident, the circumstances. it’s as if whatever was real about all of it left with you, kid.

(i thought of my 3 year old nephew sucked inside a hole in a sea cave

by water that bubbled up out of a puddle he was sitting in,

and he disappeared in a hole in the side of a giant rock on the beach

i thought him lost underwater inside the black bowels of a cave—

but i ran through the surf to the mouth of the cave and absurdly, he emerged,

sitting up, screaming riding a wave like a surfer down into the crashing waves

and i snatched him up and he was saved, unhurt) but they could not save you and you were not saved.

i could be writing this about my other nephew who did die.

it doesn’t do your family or the rest of us any good, but i think of you daily. you were not in that coffin, kid, but in the unrealized events where i imagine you always will be.