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Elegy for Felicia Hayes 1973-1998

They wouldn't let you forget.
Call you shake and bake
When you couldn't help what you had.
They wouldn't let you forget
The man who hit and ran you down
On Jim Lee Road.

They wouldn't let you forget
How your mama beat you black & blue.
Now your grandma takes care of you.

Sorry I didn't attend the funeral.
Not having a suit was no excuse.
I should have called you more.
I should have took you on trips
To neighborhood fish fries,
Movies and fraternity car washes.

I should have held your arms
& hands down every step of the portable building
Where we took Fundamental Math.

Sorry I didn't help you with fractions.
Sorry I didn't protect you from taunting tongues.
Sorry I wasn't there during the labor pains
The day your boyfriend left without a trace.
A baby girl hangs from your hips.

I should have sat next to you on the bus.
I should have written you poems.
I should have taken you to varsity football games.
I should have bought
You all the popcorn & cotton candy
You could eat.
I should have given you
Rides home from school.
Carry your books to the top of the Capital Building,
To the porch of your trailer.
I should have taken you to Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch.
Hands clasping buttermilk biscuits.
I'm sorry I didn't take you to the prom.
I'm sorry I didn't walk you to the front door.
I'm sorry I wasn't your knight in shining armor
Riding to your distressed screams.

I'm sorry for your sister who died from AIDS complications.
Poems are not enough and the fact
That I didn't have a suit for your funeral was no excuse.

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