Joseph Powell

This, A Life
(for Anthony Lamar Smith)

This was a life
this father
this son
this brother
this was somebody’s lover
somebody’s friend

was a human being
of breath
and flesh
and blood
and spirit

was a bearer
of dreams
a possessor of

was someone
who deserved to live
regardless of
whatever his sin

or may not
have been
what this was not—

a speck of lint
to be flung
from one’s collar
a spot of dirt
to be flicked
from one’s shoe

a piece of refuse
to be discarded
in the nearest trash bin

a life
like every other life
like your life
like your son’s life
like your daughter’s
your lover’s
your mother’s
your father’s
your brother’s
your sister’s life
this life

made in the image
of God
the giver of life
when even God
was not ready
to receive it back
a life
possibly born

to do great things
possibly born
to do less
but a life

that deserved
to be
to breathe
to live:
what a life
is supposed
to do.