March 4, 2008
By Kathryn Mahan, Fredonia, KS

If someone had smiled at him
Known his name for just a day
If someone had noticed him
Before he lived in yesterday

"He’s so quiet he can’t have my trust
He has a secret someplace in his past
I make a point to stay away
He won’t tell if I don’t ask"

If his parents hadn’t gotten drunk
And hit him when they fought
If someone who had seen him
Had given him a second thought

"I’ve got four kids with mouths to feed
A car with payments due
I’ve got a hundred things that need me more
Than the quiet kid next door"

If someone had promised him
He had a future life to live
If someone had said kind words
Before the love in him could die

"If he wasn’t so shy he’d be all right
One day he’ll come out of his shell
Until then, I’ll just leave him be
He seems to be doing well"

If his brother had loved fishing,
Taught him to tie a bow
Instead of slang words for illegal drugs:
Angel dust, crystal meth, blow

"I’ve got a basketball game to win tonight
I don’t have time to ‘make new friends’
If that kid wanted to talk to me
He’d lose some weight and learn to play"

If someone could have seen the future
The blood and glinting steel
If someone would have said to him
‘Stick around for a while’

If someone would have seen his eyes
The single glittering tear he cried
If someone would have grabbed his hand
And stopped him –

Maybe one day he’d laugh and smile
Have a wife, a family
Maybe someday he’d love again

But no, his name was on the radio news
He had his piece in black and white
And though he didn’t get a funeral,
They buried him Tuesday, 4 o’clock…

So hold your peace and
Drive your car
Just keep waiting
Go win your game

And I’ll be the only one to cry for him
The brother I barely knew
And I’ll be the only one to plead with the past:
‘I know there is a time to die.
If only he could have lived, too.’

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