Dear Child

I know a little girl,
whose hair in ringlets
falls, unkempt from lack
of brushing; who stands
when she should be sitting;
who laughs with defiance when
challenged, her dark eyes gleaming
with mischief; who holds her chin up
high and stamps her feet, arms folded
in protest when she does not get her way.

I see that little girl,
have watched her play,
with a wild imagination,
and a fearless temperament;
have watched her climb a tree,
scrap with any bully, and dare to
venture on her own; have witnessed
her alone times, hidden and obscured,
watched as she cried unheeded, buried
herself in books, drawing, and future dreams.

I feel that little girl,
who wears such a brave
exterior to mask her inner
fears; who bears a burden of
responsibility to carry the weight
of those around her;  who believes
she has the power to make her mother
cry, to cause her father’s violence, to save
her sisters from pain; who feels the punishment
of her situation and ascribes it to unworthiness.

I love that little girl,
whose mind is always
churning, who prays to a
god she’s never seen, and
makes wishes on rainbows;
who longs to make a difference,
and refuses to believe that suffering
is all there is; who devotes herself to
being a better person, and hopes one day
that she’ll finally feel at peace in the world.

I hold that little girl,
warm within my heart,
listen to her fears, hear
her heart’s longing;  praise
her courageous efforts, appease
her doubts, offer condolences for
losses, encouragement for change,
forgive her of her burdens; allay her
misperceptions, reassure her worth,
promise to never let her go: she is me.