Slowly, the darkness of that night covered each sleeping child.
Its blanket so heavy, so bearing,
That it silenced the steady hum of innocent breath.
It stole the vibrant smiles of youth from their dreaming faces
And offered nothing in return.
Not even a trace of reason.
And in the morning each felt the loss.
The touch of the intruder was still fresh on their lips.
So new and so foreign, that the coldness was shocking.
The taste so repulsive, each mouth cried for water.
To rinse away the feeling.
To forever erase the midnight invasion.
And through the day, each child walked
Down the halls they had a thousand times before.
yet, looks of fear and tears of sadness
Showed a faint and distorted knowledge
That they must learn.
Learn to say good-bye.
Exhaustion from their thoughts and weakness in their knees
Brought quick and heavy sleep to the eyelids of these children.
The day was over. The ritual passed.
Fearful arms embraced reality in the midst of life's confusion.
Yet, they had lost that one night's smile.
They had given that one long day.
Down paved highways, yellow brick roads, or paths less traveled
These children moved on and on and on on on ...
Scared to stop and wonder.
Scared of looking back, back, back to ...
To what had happened.
To what they had lost.
Unable to forget the touch of the rapist, the intruder,
Who had taken last night's smile, one child sat. Awake.
And knowing that that one smile was gone, always.
He wished not to say good-bye.
He wished only to say good-night,
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.