For Chuck.

I just heard about the sudden death of a high school classmate. Chuck was my date for the prom, my soulmate during some dark days of my youth, my port in a storm. This, then, is for him.

For Chuck.

When I first heard you had died

and far too soon

I picture you

running at full tilt,

fearless as ever,

down the back hallway outside the chemistry lab,

to take the five steps down in one flying jump.

I see you next at my parent’s front door

on a cool spring night,

my date for the prom,

nervous, exuberant.

overpriced wrist corsage in hand,

And me,

stunned someone had asked.

I wore my sister’s dress from two years before,

the sleeves shortened,

but it mattered not,

because you told me

I looked beautiful.

You actually used that word.


Thank you, Chuck,

for that night,

for seeing in me

what no other boy did,

what I couldn’t myself,

for actually listening when I spoke,

for telling me I was smart,

and not saying

for a girl.

Thank you, dear boy,

for the kind of laughter that hurts your stomach,

for dancing with me that night in the gymnasium

to the Righteous Brothers,

for making it magical somehow,

despite the basketball hoops

and the scratchy sound

and the bad lighting.

For delivering to me the moments that help define us,

and shape the best

of what we can

and will be.


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Writer and Poet

Tricia McCallum profile

Tricia McCallum

Always be a poet. Even in prose.
Charles Baudelaire.

In essence I am a storyteller who writes poems. Put simply, I write the poems I want to read.[…]

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