This Girl



She is so tall now
Hair flowing down
in such luxurious waves
over her shoulders.

I cannot feel which rib
She would touch
If I were now to I pull her to me
And kiss her head.

She has cried and felt shame
struggling with a class
She sees only on a screen
Like the children’s programs
she has watched
In that same rectangle
For all the days
She can remember.

She has tried to understand
what is being required 
somewhere in a location
remote from any connection
to her heart.

Life was hard enough
to navigate at six.
Now this.

In captured moments of sheer grace
In the midst of lives
squeezed tight
by our designated protectors
she has taught me
how to draw pictures
of dresses and walking hearts
And flowers.

We, yearning to touch each other,
Peering over the edge
of what separates us
by thousands of miles
Hoping to see the whole of the life
That is trapped there
In the small flat picture
There before us
Made real by our imagination.

Yearning to smell the skin, the fragrance of the cooking
To turn and catch some glimpse
of what is seen by that other
that we take on faith
exists.

Trying not to say how much the pain of separation
Is crushing that space
within our chests
Knowing at each moment
we cannot hold each other
Cannot turn to see the life
In which the other swims.


She has taught her little sister
almost all she knows
They have played for hours in their tiny home.
She has driven her mother to cry
from exhaustion
and confusion
and fear.

They have hugged
and consoled each other
More times than could be counted.
We all are still alive
and growing.
Many now are not.

Hearts have been torn to shreds
In some infinity of variations
Over the eons of our existence.
How will all this pain
now transform us
As its waves wash all around us
In this ocean
of  existence.

The tide is crushing some here
And leaving some there
Safe to ride the next
Inexorable force
And try their luck.

What will heal and teach us
and which wounds
Will leave us
now too weak to stand
and pass our love
One to another.
And hold each other
And let real wisdom
Ripen.