Death in the Barrio

I have not gotten used to (nor do I want to) violent death in the barrio.  To learn that someone has suddenly ceased to exist is like seeing a flower uprooted by a storm - memories of the deceased like the damaged petals of the flower lingering in a fleeting, melancholic beauty.

On my computer screen I see the bloodied bodies of the two living of four armed robbery suspects gunned down by police.  A young friend of mine was one of the two who did not survive.  His image, smiling and open, appears again and again across my FB “feed” as his community uses a digital platform to mourn.  I exchange texts of sadness and remorse with his friends, his sister.

In Central Park, where I walk after receiving the news, the Summer’s late setting sun casts its last rays onto fields where ballgames are taking place and families lay out on picnic blankets.  It’s a different world from the neighborhood my young friend was born into and inhabited for the entire duration of his life.  A world he only saw on screens.  I wish he had been able to experience it - even just for a day.