Why


Gaze upon that pale, young face
Notice the eyes stare into space
His smile is weak, as though he grieves
Why does he always wear long sleeves?
His hair is long, a bit shabby too
Hands and feet swollen, clothes askew
He feels no one in him believes
Why does he always wear long sleeves?
He seldom talks, and he sleeps a lot
There are so many things that he's forgot
A vacant mind that never perceives
Why does he always wear long sleeves?
He could have been a real golf pro
Shot pool so well it was almost a show
Accomplishments now he never achieves
Why does he always wear long sleeves?
Oh, God! If I am guilty, punish me
From that awful bondage, set him free
To live, to think, to feel reprieves
Why does he always wear long sleeves?
Hiding the "tracks," this I know, but
Why the necessity his life to blow?
Help him, Dear God. Give him release
From drudgery of those damn long sleeves!

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This Poems Story

I wrote this poem in 1971 in response to my youngest son's addiction to drugs. I was searching for understanding and praying for a miracle. I wrote another poem in 1990 called "One Year" that celebrated his abstinence from drugs with the support of Narcotics Anonymous. Unfortunately, as many families can attest, his struggles with addiction continued to make life for him and those who loved him forever on edge. He found peace on September 25, 2011. I think of and pray for him daily.