by Ria T. DiLullo
dedicated to Shamsuddin Abdul Hamid
"You gotta meet Sham! He's the best I'll know."
"Invite him to the reading," I replied.
"I am always excited to meet a
(5) Talent and friend who inspires you so!"
Not much what said on the matter, until
A chilled morning, clear and bright, I saw a
Look that overtook the brow on B's face.
He breathed before looking at me, glassy.
(10) "Sham... I can't believe it. My friend? He's dead."
I was about to know Sham, on his way
To becoming a man and an artist.
Instead, I rode with a friend from the past,
A love I hope to have for life, and one
(15) Other compatriot I did not know.
We rode, the four of us alive to drive
To respect a life no longer living,
To celebrate the light left behind them.
Upon approaching the vigil for Sham,
(20) It became clear to me that the grief
Gathered here was different.
So many souls joined together outside
Of a high school in New Jersey, the sky
Dark and the air cold. Many people spoke,
(25) But as the stories began to unfold,
Even I, an outsider, could begin
To piece together who this person was.
Here are some of the things I can tell you
Of this young man I was about to know:
(30) His full name: Shamsuddin Abdul Hamid.
Most people called him Sham. His presence could
Plant a smile on anyone's face. He
Was a Muslim, but loved all houses of
God, happy to pray and participate
(35) In many denominations. "Sham knew
Jesus!", was said to the heavens with a
Lifted chest by many of the speakers.
He grew up in New Jersey, raised by a
Single mom who runs a beauty parlour.
(40) It was there that Sham learned to listen and
Digest how different people tell stories.
Sham was a tour du force on stage and screen.
He would have been the envy of his class,
Except that his brightness was infectious.
(45) Everyone wanted the best for Sham. It
Was clear that those who met him wanted him
To succeed. And he was well on his way.
Sham was not just known to those who knew him;
He was famous in his community
(50) For both his talent and integrity.
Even as the moments making up the
Vigil passed, the people gathered wanted
To stay together. Sham was alive then,
Again, because his spirit embodies
(55) All whom he touched. Even in his absence,
Even as someone who never met Sham,
I can feel what he offered freely to
Those who spent time with him. I smile at
The thought of him, at the knowledge of the
(60) Heart I know he had. Sham, you will be missed.
It would have been an honor to meet you.
At least I can say, I almost knew you.