Touch: The Journal of Healing



We Walk for You

    by Barbara Murphy

We didn’t tell anybody that first year,

just showed up and wrote a single check

and followed the seventy or so people

along the Genesee River

to fight off the loneliness of suicide.

Some carried photos of their loved ones;

we only carried you in our heart,

happy to be with others who feel the same pain.

The second year,

we brought your mother

and pledges that earned us a tee shirt,

the third year we brought your brother too,

the fourth your father, aunt,  cousin, and two dogs,

and your photo sewn into the memory quilt.

In the fifth, your third aunt was among the hundred eighty or so people

hugging and laughing,

and bowing their heads during the roll call,

waiting to hear their loved ones’ names.

In the sixth year, we are handing out brochures

all over our city and town

to let others know

they too can walk and talk about suicide

and that lives can be saved.

You never learned to drive a car,

so you walked all over the city.

Now we walk for you,

out of the darkness,

and into the light of those who remain.

© 2012  Barbara Murphy

This poem is part of an unpublished collection dedicated to the author's deceased nephew.

Barbara Murphy lives in Rochester, New York, and teaches full-time at Finger Lakes Community College. She writes poetry, prose, and fiction and wrote and produced puppet plays from 1982-1992.

Copyright © 2012

Touch: The Journal of Healing

All rights reserved.