"He's not going to be here" | First Person | Indy Week
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"He's not going to be here" 

Joslin Simms

Photo by Justin Cook

Joslin Simms

Editor's Note: Freelance photographer Justin Cook took pictures of mothers whose children had been murdered; those portraits were then published in the Indy last May (see "A life sentence"). Among those mothers was Joslin Simms, whose son, Rayburn, was shot to death May 21, 2005, at Broad and Leon streets in Durham. Police have yet to catch his assailant. Joslin has only now begun to grieve, as she was left to help raise several of Ray's four children, including his teen daughter, Shae Simms. Shae wrote the following piece about her father; click play below to hear Joslin read the poem.


He's not going to be here

To see me graduate high school;

He's not going to be here

To see Marcus play the trumpet

And says that's cool;

He's not going to be here

When I start college and my career;

He's not going to be here

To see Raven do her first cheer;

He's not going to be here

When I get married and have kids;

He's not going to be here

To see little Tony grow big;

He's not going to be here

With me laughing

and joking around;

He's not going to be here

To see Shaun in his cap and gown;

He's not going to be here

To play the game and win;

He's not going to be here

With his family playing pretend;

He's not going to be here

When I take the SAT

and get my score;

He's not going to be here

To help my mom with me anymore;

He's not going to be here

To keep me warm when I get cold;

He's not going to be here

With his brothers as they grow old;

He's not going to be here

To experience with me my life as a teen;

He's not going to be here

To joke around and mess with Darlene;

He's not going to be here

When I first learn how to drive;

He's not going to be here

Because he is not alive;

and that's the part

that is eating me up inside

I ask every day why

did he have to be the one who died.

I just want to know

Why he had to leave us so soon

Why can't he just be here with his kids

Sitting and watching cartoons

He's not going to be here

To see that we all came out to be smart

He's not going to be here at all

And that's what hurts

so deep in my heart;

He's not going to be here

To play with his children and be loud;

But it's up to me to make sure that

we all become somebody

who would have made him proud.

  • The mother of a murdered man reads a poem about him written by his daughter

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