Sam’s Deli: A Remembrance
“Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957
the minute you walked in
the aroma of fresh baked Italian bread
linked you to Tuscany
and the faint scent of salami and
mesmerized your senses.
Sam greeted everyone
with a magnificent smile
and by the count of five
he was spreading mayo
on the long skinny roll
just the way you liked it.
he layered the cold cuts
his technique never failed
to produce the best sandwich
Everyone loved Sam
and of course his sandwiches.
One day, after school
Joe, his brother walked into the deli
just like he had done everyday for many years.
This time he found Sam dead
laying behind the meat slicer counter.
he had been shot in the head.
He could not believe his eyes;
that moment changed his life forever.
No one had seen anything nor heard a thing.
This was the first of many murders to come.
Killing or shootings were not as prevalent then
I was barely ten
but the images I imagined of Sam that afternoon
stayed with me all my life.
I remember Sam and his great smile.
I bet he smiled at his killer.
The killer that got away with $35.00 cash.
Life is so fragile and for some
worth so little.
We must continue to fight
for putting an end to gun violence.
I do not know why
I thought about Sam today
but I do know
Life is precious
and certainly worth
advocating for non-violence.
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