Requiem for a Youth

Requiem for a Youth

It is so-
sad.
It is-
so sad.
It-
is so sad.
To see him like that-
like THAT.
Behind the glass
with the phone in his hands,
a tired smile,
a lot of lost weight
making his orange suit baggy
like the denim shorts that used
to hang below his double X L shirts.
His hair short
like it was back in the day.
Mirthless chuckles in place of his
whooping laugh.
He leans back in his chair like the day in class
when he wouldn't listen, wouldn't leave for the office,
when he used his ankle bracelet to get out of detention,
and the gentle teacher mentioned a social worker
a SOCIAL WORKER,
what kind of kid has one of those?
The same kid who could stop a lesson with a joke,
the same kid who was so loved by so many,
who ran into the cops so often
but was polite each and every time.
The very one who was sequestered in a little carousel
in first grade because he was too funny,
too rambunctious,
too exuberant,
too disruptive.
The one who, after that stand off with the gentle teacher
came back the next day and-
apologized.
Apologized.
So humbled, so embarrassed, so well-meaning.
Like he is now,
inside the walls
for pushing his envelope off the table with 
an armed burglary.
Withheld from a society that loves him-
kind of like in first grade.

Six years is a long time to stop being a kid.
It might be too long to start being a man.
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