I met him once.
Kicking around kicking tires at a car show.
His cousin introduced me.
That mix of cocky and self-conscious
that is teenage boy.
I shook his hand with gravity
as I like to bestow adult status
on adolescents.
They seem to savor it
though they may disdain all else.
The month before I asked his cousin,
who came with his parents
to my home for dinner,
“Could I interest you in coffee?”
“Yes, please,” he said,
and his mother gave me the look –
amused  you’d call it–
as if to say
“Well, that’s his first.”
And this boy whose hand I shook
died that Spring.
Crashed his car just horsing around.
I met his mother the following year.
She told me she obsessed
upon every stupid stunt he had pulled
in his short life
and survived.
“If I’d been a better mother,
he might not have tried one last foolish thing.”
She surmised as I offered her
a cup of coffee.