A Joker in the Sun


They found you in the heart of darkness
The last place to be expected
They sent you, lifeless, back to us
Adrift in the miasma of disbelief
And blunt force trauma
That hit us all unwillingly
Again and again, in waves of incremental aftershocks.

People combed their memories vaults, dusted the ocean floor
Faltering and unknown
To understand the big black hole
That claimed you, over and over
Stealthily and silently
As you performed courageous acts of living for the rest of us
To mark down, to expect
You, dear sir, played your part
Flawlessly

Perhaps you got only half of what you wanted
The ultimate high
To be fully alive while actively dying
To be on the narrow cusp of life, to feel the thrill of the in-between
Here and there, this side or that
Waiting for help to arrive
Wielding the instruments of survival
That you knew so well

Time and the limits of physiology claimed you
You understood the precipitous nature of both
And how easily life becomes death
But you also knew that the devil reigns in the details
So you planned accordingly
With your sails open
To see where the slights of your hand, the fates
Cast you

I still look for you
Your smiling soul
I will search you out, always
In every place the light reaches
Because I remember you best there
Sparkling and ebullient
A joker in the sun

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This Poems Story

I wrote this poem while I was processing the unexpected, violent death of a friend and role model. They never talked about their struggles, never reached out or asked for help. It took a long time for me to wrap my head around the manner in which they died - as he was one of my role models in nursing. He was a beautiful person who had many gifts, helped many people and had many people who loved him. So this poem is my way of trying to understand, in a small way, whatever he might have been going through. And I do still look for glimpses of him - wherever the light shines.