Why did Joan Handloff
have to die
she had so much to live for
much more I thought than I
I never saw her cry
-or so I believed-
Sometimes her delicate alban
face was flush with pink
and her eyes were clearly sad
but I never guessed it was Joan
who was feeling
hopeless or hatter mad.
Compared to me she was a stunning
In high school she was a cheerleader
at the top of the pops
in with the in crowd
pretty and slender
wearing her green and white outfit
on game days
that smartly fit
- albeit always
a touch shy.
At times I wondered what was behind
her mask, but I was so enrolled in trying
just to cope with my own life, I never asked.
We grew up together
and some years I measured
the time by how much
her straight blonde hair had grown
or when she cut it to mid-neck length.
were in braces
perfecting our smiles.
through schools together,
part of the same ride.
We were never close but
always pleasant to each other
in the halls and in class
nodding our heads and exchanging
some words as we settled into
our chairs, where I would for the most
part often wriggle impatiently,
considering the clock, checking off each minute
and wait for the bells.
For years she was a given
part of the backdrop
of my life, just two places up and
a row apart during puberty and
In seven long years we had told each other no secrets.
Then at the age of 22 just about
after college graduation I reckoned
I heard that she had taken her life.
She had so much more to live for
and much less than me to hide,
or so I thought at the time.
And to this day I still wonder why
Joan Handloff had to die.
the apache kid