Oh Carissa, when I first saw you, you were a lovely child.
And the last time I saw you, you were fifteen and pregnant and running wild.
I remember wondering, could there be a light at the end of your tunnel?
But I left Ohio then and pretty much forgotten all about you.
I guess you were there some years ago at a family funeral.
But you were one of so many relatives I didn’t know which one was you.
Yesterday morning I woke up to so many, 330 area code calls.
I called my mom back and she was in tears and asked had I spoke to my father.
Carissa burned to death last night in a freak accident fire.
In her yard in Bruster her daughter came home from a party and found her.
Same way as my uncle who was her grandfather.
An aerosol can blew up in the trash, goddamn, what were the odds?
She was just getting ready to go to her midnight shift as an RN is Rosworth.
And she vanished up in flames like that but there had to be more to her life’s worth. Everyone’s grieving out of their minds, making arrangements and taking drugs.
But I’m flying out there tomorrow because I need to give and get some hugs.
Cause I got questions that I’d like to get answered.
I may never get them, but Carissa gotta know how did it happen.
Carissa was thirty-five, you don’t just raise two kids and take out your trash and die. She was my second cousin, I didn’t know her well at all
But it doesn’t mean that I wasn’t meant to find some poetry to make some sense of this, to find a deeper meaning.
In a senseless tragedy, oh Carissa I’ll sing your name across every sea.
Were you doing someone else’s chores for them?
Were you just killing time, finding things to do all by your lonesome?
Was it even you mistakenly put flammables in the trash.
Was it your kids just being kids,
And so, oh, the guilt they will carry around forever. Well I’m going out there to get a look at the landscapes,
To get a look at those I’m connected by blood and see how it all may have shaped me.
Well I’m going out there though I’m not really needed.
I’m just so broken up about it, how is it that this sad history repeated?
I’ll return to Ohio, to the place I was born.
Gonna see where I hung with my cousins and played with them in the snow.
Fist in their palms, gonna see how they’ve grown.
Visit some greats and say hey I’ve missed you.
Gonna find out as much as I can about my little second cousin Carissa.
Gonna go to Ohio, where I was born. Got a 10:45 am flight,
I’m leaving tomorrow morning. Gonna see my aunts and my uncles, my parents and sisters. Mostly I’m going to pay my respects to my little second cousin Carissa.
Going to Ohio where I feel I belong.
Ask those who know the most about Carissa for it was her life and death that I’m helplessly drawn.
Carissa was thirty-five, raised kids since she was fifteen years old and suddenly died. Next to an old river, fire pit, oh there’s gotta be more than that to it.
She was only my second cousin but it don’t mean that
I’m not here for her or that
I wasn’t meant to give her life poetry, make sure her name is known across every city.