Forsaken Childhood

January 16, 2008
She was a nice girl, says her teddy bear
on the corner of the coverlet of her bed;
a wistful child too, says the print of the cottage
on the periwinkle wall; and a blithe, book-loving creature,
says the copy of children’s favorite fairytales
on the floor beneath Walden, worn with old-age;
but not a girl for forgetting, says the diary
filled with stories and her sense of history.

No one lived with her, say the night stars
twinkling with pity and the writing desk
coated with dust, for she had no one
says the reading chair ready for a different dweller.
Laughter was rare, say the voices of the water-globe wizard
and the Spanish guitar resting on the furniture,
and the holidays bleak, says the oak tree by the open window.
It was lonely here, says the old creaking floor.

She grew up, says her childhood bedroom
in the empty house. The lamp in the corner
says she was quite the worrywart; her pillow soaked
with her tears says she cried about growing up.
And the girl? Her memories are ringing in the chamber
like bells under a zephyr – an amateur telescope,
an algebra text on calculating slope,
an unscrambled Rubik’s cube. She grew up, they say.

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