What I Never Got to Tell You by Melanie Lauren Raper

That it shocked me

Even though I knew the cancer was in your brain


That when I found out you had three months to live

My first thought was that you weren’t going to be alive for my birthday

That when I was called to check out of school at 9:17am

I rushed hoping you would still be alive when I got to the hospital


That when my khaki jacket got caught in my locker

Mrs. Vangeldren held me in the hallway as I cried


That when I was sitting in the pew at your funeral

I wanted the preacher to tell a story about you and me


That he did

He talked about “the last time you saw snow


You laughed at how I ran from window to window”

That it was the last time I heard you laugh


That when I was in my first play

I wished you were in the audience even though I only said one line


That when I was accepted into UGA

Mom said you would have been so proud


Then when I realized I needed to transfer to BU

She said you would still have been proud of me


That every time I pass my elementary school

I feel like you are picking me up to take me home


That every time I see an old brown chevy

A part of me always thinks I’ll see you driving


That I only go into the small country store because

We loved getting potato boats and chicken for dinner


That every Christmas dinner we have at the house

I go to sit in your old squeaky blue recliner


That it took me five years

To be able to sit in that house and not feel sad


That I still cry

But not as much anymore


-Originally published in The Elixir’s 2016-17 print edition

-Photo credit to Hot Rod