Photography © Chad Parenteau


What Would have Be(e)n

An impression of your life
Had it gone on
And what you would have done
Been, seemed, and who inspired.

You were tireless, the best of us
Your smile is lost; your eyes
Like stars gone out
They’ll write poems about you too
Cry. Sometimes you do everything right
And die.

We’ll live better for a day
Remembering the things you’d say
And how your voice would rise and fall
Your death made cynics of us all

And soon your absence won’t be felt
Our feigned forgetfulness will melt
As normal reasserts itself
Dust blurs your image on the shelf

Everything you were and would be
Every place you’d go and should see
Everyone you’d help, the beauty
Burned, in smoke, and gone completely.


Andrew O’Brien is a teacher learning to juggle with spheres and hoping it will help with his busy life. English language arts, martial arts, a very demanding cat, and now a son keep Andrew busy, but his aspirations to be published have remained constant since high school classes with that one amazing teacher who inspired him. Andrew lives near Boston, Massachusetts with his very smart wife, evil feline, and hungry newborn.

Mr. O’Brien: “On July 30th, in Ipswich, Massachusetts, a young man was struck and killed by a pickup truck. He was riding his bike home as he had done many times before. It was 6:00 PM and still light out. He celebrated his 16th birthday five days before.”

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine.