[SoF:] Bobby

I cried at Field of Dreams.
It wasn’t Dad I was thinking of —
it was you —
us, lobbing that ball
back and forth.

You blossomed:      Specht Fans 11 …  Tuesday night.

Fireballer Bob Specht struck out 11 and allowed only two hits in leading the BPO Elks to a 4-0 victory over Lee Plumbing.

You were ten.

You threw so hard
my hand burned even with a catcher’s mitt and sponge.

You stalled;
others caught you.
Age fifteen, and your career was done.

You were musical;
played trombone in the marching band.

School? You did well,
but were never really exceptional.
You defied conventions,
went to extremes.

In college, it wasn’t enough to just protest;
you had to join the SDS,
to always be daring the police to arrest you.

You took heroin, mescaline, speed, cocaine.

You were cynical, negative, moody;
scorned all masks and indirection.
What you offered was a ruthless honesty:
in a fake and superficial world,
no small commodity.
You married —
Justice of the Peace, no friends or family.
Seemed happier.

It didn’t last;
you divorced.

Talked of suicide, occasionally.
I argued it to be a misunderstanding
of emotions’ relativity:
Only the starving understand
the exquisite flavor of plain bread.

You wandered.
Work took us farther apart.

You became obsessed with a married woman
who had no intention of leaving her husband.

Injured your eye in a car accident.
The doctor prescribed corticosteroids.

I fell in love and got married.
You were best man.

And then:

P.M., May 20, 1981: A body was discovered in the kitchen of the second floor apartment at 68 High St. by the building’s owner, Joseph Albertson. Mr. Albertson positively identified the body as that of Robert Edward Specht, the apartment’s leasee.  The deceased had received a gunshot wound to the head. A .25-caliber Beretta revolver registered to the deceased was found one foot from the body. The substantial damage to the face and head, consistent with a very close firing range, the lack of any signs of intrusion or struggle, and the written materials (identified as being in Mr. Specht’s handwriting) found next to the body, indicate that the wound was self-inflicted.

You’d left a note: “No hope of finding love. Refuse to live without.

Was it the accident, the drugs
that made you less communicative?
My marriage? Some inner-driven change?

Would that I could have eased your pain.
You were thirty-one.


Hear Jerry/Lucius read this poem.    This poem is part of the Scraps of Faith collection of poems.

Keywords:  suicide, brother, grief, depression, death, drugs, love, youth, guns