Child Within

 


I.

A little girl sits on a bench,
swings her legs 
and reads from her book 
of a thousand and one jokes.

I glimpse, in that act, 
a young woman,

and I am thrilled
and deeply
shaken
at once.


II.

A look crosses a woman’s face, 
flashes 

for less than a moment,
too fast 
to be
more than
barely seen.
The girl that once was
comes passing through
a passing thought 

and is caught  
—only not caught—

and gone before 
she is known 
for what she is
or what she was,

left with only the 
memory of 
an expression
of memory

passed beneath the surface.

The little girl is gone.




III.

A little boy cries out
from an old 
man’s face,
 
the sad one,
the lost one, 
the last one, 

beyond comprehension 
of a hard-won heart.

The learned self-given healing

—even that—
is gone.

Pain 
as can only be known
to a child is

carried on and on,
a burden that one 
never wants to open.
 


IV.

A son is asked 
by his father

—but it is the cry of the lost boy,
ripped from somewhere deep 
in the old man’s throat—

“Will you be my mommy?”

How can a son answer this,
when his father does the asking?

Is this what it feels like to be born?
To lose forever the warmth
that is still (but now only) 
known from within?

We find us both 
lost past longing
and long past lost.

Incomprehensible  
why this happens to any of us,
this slap that is existence.

A son is carried by his father
for so many years that he is
shocked to realize he is no 
longer being carried, surprised
to find himself standing with 
his own legs under him.


V.

A little girl sits on a bench,
swings her legs 
and reads her book 
of a thousand and one jokes.

I glimpse, in that act, 
a young woman,

and I am thrilled
and deeply
shaken
at once.





14 thoughts on “Child Within

  1. This is almost too much, at my place in my life, to absorb. This terrifies me in ways I choose not to explore just now. I know that’s not your intent, but this is deeply moving and penetrating. You should be submitting this stuff to people to try and publish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my friend. I’m hoping this didn’t hit a little too close to home. Parts of parts of the experiences that this piece is based on still terrify me as well. Mnemosyne (memory) is kind of my Anti-Muse.
      As far as intent, well, while it is never my desire to cause anyone distress, it is the intent of a poet to share an experience, and in that way, I guess this worked, then. I always appreciate your insight.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I like that idea very much. Bending and stilling time at the same time (ha!). Especially as this piece in particular is so much about memory….how it is both a process of hanging on and letting go….and all the myriad combos of trying and not trying to do or not do one or the other or both…..it all gets mixed up…..and the words help me to try and find my way…

      Liked by 1 person

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