This is titled “For Those Who Don’t Remember”

For no particular reason, tonight I remembered a poem I wrote seven years ago — and I haven’t written a poem since. It was about Ronald Cole, who disappeared in 1965. The single photo I have of him is of very poor quality, and at the time I wrote the poem I had nothing on his disappearance either; just what it said in the CA-DOJ casefile. Now I know a bit more.

Anyway, I wrote the poem not just for Ronald but for all those long-missing people for whom “few details are available.” And I’ve never shared it with you.

Till now.

Who are you? Who were you?
Surely, you were something more
Than that grainy, gray photograph
Height, weight, hair, eyes
Date of birth, distinguishing marks

A statistic, one of many
In a list of names and faces
A single, sterile sentence
From faded, fusty folder
That was thrown out long ago

You melted in the springtime
As the world bloomed around you
An epilogue, an afterthought
Amid all those green and growing things
And all those people who still exist

No six-column headlines or six o’clock news stories
Just “unknown circumstances”
And six-one, one-forty, brown hair and hazel eyes
And that scar on your cheek
All filed in a folder long since lost, like you

Out into nowhere, an ocean of emptiness
A black hole, a vacuum, a void
Gone, your essence dissipated
From this world of documented people
Whose existence remains a fact

Ronald Cole
Born September 21, 1945
Disappeared May 1, 1965