Fareed Shawky was everyone of the one
Hundred billion or so humans gone before
Him, not into the unknown, into unknown
Unknowns of smug and ordinary old men
(Of which, however many go, we have more
On the way, and even more old women, too),
And into the unknowable unknowing.
This isn't fair, not to him, poor little boy,
Little living creature trying not to die
And afraid as any old man or woman
Leaving gates of ivory behind for horn,
Not to any of us who know we will be
Abandoned by the living because we aren't,
Abandoning selves because we never were,
Abandoned to the jackals of memory.
It's the sweetest, most horrifying request
We make of each other, the most desperate
Honesty. I am not dead yet. Fight for me.