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Bernard

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Kicking a soccer ball across the dirt,
dirt dry and lose
his small feet fly
as he moves towards the goal.

The orphanage consists only of a small building
painted a bright and cheery blue,
which is in sharp contrast
to the dilapidated interior.

"Pass it here! Pass it here!"
come the cries of the other children.
But his focus is straight forward
eyes trained on the goal.

His clothes hang limply
from his small form.
torn and dirty,
they are all he owns.

As he nears the goal
he dodges one of the older kids.
Even at 9 years old
best soccer player at the orphanage.

His mother unable to care for him
and an absentee father
landed him in this unhappy
and worn out place.

Ducking under the last defender,
he takes his shot.
The ball takes flight with his foot's force
and soars towards the goal.

His only pair of shoes
are stored under his small bed
and only appears
for special occasions.

The hands of the goalie
just barely miss the ball
as it flies through the upright pieces of wood
to score the winning goal.

The few toys at this house
a coloring book
some crayons
and a soccer ball.
To be shared by the 30 kids,
including Bernard.

He comes running back to our team
his smile bright and proud
and runs right into my arms.
His hugs are infectious and
I return the favor
swinging him around
like an older sister
he may never have.





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