No one could save him
once he was lodged beneath the rapids.
No one could breathe for him
once he was hauled onto the rocks.
Weeks passed and the trips to the hospital became pilgrimages.
We were just teenagers. Too arrogant to admit that it could have been any one of us.
When it was my turn to go in, I sat cross legged by the ventilator and told my buddy goodbye.
I was just a kid and death meant nothing to me. But I know that I could have been more profound.
I could have told him that I was sorry if I hurt him or those he loved most.
I could have cried. Why didn’t I cry? He deserved so much more than tears.
George Cassidy Payne is a poet from Rochester, NY. His work has been included in such publications as the Hazmat Review, Moria Poetry Journal, Chronogram Journal, Ampersand Literary Review, The Angle at St. John Fisher College, and 3:16 Journal. George’s blogs, essays and letters have appeared in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Havana Times, South China Morning Post, The Buffalo News, and more.
See all his poems on Tea House here.