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The Park Bench

Every day on the red park bench
These two commuters sat.
One a sleek and shiny robot
One with ruffled velvet hat.
Never but a passing word
Until this Monday morn,
Inappropriately sunny
For the life thread that's now torn.

A leaf was blowing, tumbling past
On this normal golden day.
But right before the robot turned,
His greeting fell astray.
For in its place, a squirrel had run
And ‘twas hit by city bus that’d come.

The bus plowed forward but left behind
Questions unanswered, bubbling inside:
Where the soul went and who the soul left
And if the poor soul was to be heaven sent.
The two wondered and pondered
And gazed at the mess,
Wanting to talk to the other-
But what to confess?

Then the bard stood up
And beckoned to bot.
He sang, “Let’s cry, let’s weep,
And sing with sad thought.
For before us on this slate gray road,
Death’s scythe came and severed life from load.
He was a valiant squirrel from head to toe,
A family man never off-the-go.
He gave food to their hearts,
And he made them all smile.
How long will it be ‘fore someone says,
‘Why, he’s been gone for awhile’?
It’s a bad roll of the die,
This event so tragic.
And the words “quick death” are no healing magic.
I bet his kids, in their sugar pink bows,
Will not understand, but his wife will know.
She’ll know there’s no one to hold her hand
Or make castles with children in the rich warm sand.
It’s a twisted fate, someone dying so young.
How on earth can you ask his friends to move on?
As the Ms. stirs the pot
And the kids go to school,
They‘ll have shadows above them,
Demanding to rule.”

The robot soaked in
All the words on a platter,
But then tentatively stated
His thoughts on the matter.
“Excuse me, dear bard,”
Silver robot now said,
“But if you don’t mind me,
That’s all in your head.
You don’t know what his life was-
You’re conjecturing tales.
He could have been single
Before his life was derailed.”

“Au contraire!” cried the bard,
His face turning pink.
“Someone must have loved him!”
And reflecting, he blinked.
“Although death may surround you
Every new day,
It doesn’t always hit home
Or make your life sway.
It’s okay not to feel bad,”
He told the robot in secret,
“Because you ne’er knew him
And have no memories to keepeth.
But death is a grave thing, is it not?”
He confirmed the slow-nodding head of the bot.
“And so my dear robot, that is why I lament;
I try to sympathize with those I ne’er met .”

The bard was surprised to feel a hand on his shoulder
And heard the bot talk, somehow sounding much older:
“But if, like you say, he has people he loved,
Then he lived a full life, which is better than some.
There’s no perfect age that you just want to die,
So try to avoid regrets of all kinds.”

“But what’s next for him?” sniffed the sad little man.
“Does he go onward and upward like angels can?”

The robot paused,
And he had to shrug.
"Who knows?" he said
And gave him a hug.
“I don’t think it ends;
I think there’s more to the story.
I think some Father holds him,
A gem in his quarry.”

As the morgue came
And took corpse away,
The pair fell back into habit
Like they did each day.

They took the same bus to Avenue North
And sat side by side until they reached the blue port.
But as they got off, the robot soft-said,
“Well I’ll see you tomorrow, my emotional friend.
Death can bring men together or rip them apart,
But whether or not, it pulls at their hearts.
A life is gone and that can’t be changed;
All you can do is keep playing the game.”



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