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The Old Woman

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When I was young,
I would play in the park
where other children would swing
and dogs did bark.

And in this park
there sat an old lady,
under the tree
on a bench where it was shady.

She was always there,
every single day,
so one day I asked her,
"why do you stay?"

She gave a sad smile,
and looked me in the eye
"Because, child,
one day I'll die."

"One day I'll die
but before I go,
I want people to care,
I want people to know.

"I want them to know
I'm here for everyone.
I will listen to those who feel
neglected and shunned.

I'll hear their tales,
maybe tell a few,
but know my dear,
I'm here for you too."

She looked at me
and I stared back
with acne and scars,
and wearing all black.

I said almost nothing,
just sat there with her,
I didn't know much
but she helped me, I'm sure.

I spoke very little,
yet she always listened
each time I returned,
the tears in her eyes would glisten.

I got off the bench and ran,
trying to hide.
I came back with a ring,
my fiancee by my side.

We talked and we laughed,
he's not much, but he's mine.
She felt the baby kick,
you should have seen her smile shine.

My husband left,
he went off to war,
my baby cried,
he wanted Daddy more.

I sat with the woman,
watching my baby play,
and then it came,
that fateful day.

I dressed in black,
I wouldn't answer the door
My heart was ripped in half,
then into seven pieces more.

He was buried with honors,
killed in the fight
between what is evil
and what is right.

My baby grew,
he was beautiful and true,
I thought I knew,
I didn't have a clue.

My baby was hurting,
he came home bruised,
he felt so alone,
so lost and confused.

My baby didn't know,
didn't know that I cared
he felt so small,
he felt so scared.

He slashed at one wrist,
then at the other.
I buried him between his dad,
and his miscarried brother.

I cried to the woman,
she was all I had left
but in the end it didn't matter
Death was the ultimate theft.

I looked to her
when I needed her most,
but found no one,
only her ghost.

The bench was empty,
just a shell like me.
An inanimate object,
too hardened to flee.

And so thats why I sat,
each and everyday,
on the bench in the park,
where the old woman used to stay.

And one day a child was watching,
as they did all the time,
he looked like my baby,
into my lap he did climb.

"Why are you crying?
What is it?
Why are you always here?
Why do you sit?"

I offered a small smile
and looked into his eyes,
"Because, my child,
everyone dies."

"Everyone dies,
but before they do,
tell them you love them,
show them it's true.

"Show them you won't just
throw them away.
Tell them you love them,
Tell them you'll stay.

"Tell them your stories,
your ups and your downs
tell them you love them,
Wipe away their frowns.

"I'll hear all your tales,
maybe tell a few,
but know, my dear,
that I'm here for you."

The boy spoke,
I cradled him in my lap,
suddenly, on my shoulder,
there came a small tap.

Behind me she stood,
clothed in blue,
the old woman I loved,
the woman I once knew.

She laid her hand on the boy,
looked up at me,
she mouthed the words "thank you",
for the first time, I felt free.

I sat in the park
and the boy came back,
each time, older
with more tales in his pack.

He told me his stories,
listened to a few,
the older I got,
the more he grew.

Each day he returned,
wiser than before,
Until one day he left,
That was the day he soared.

Up, and up he flew,
he built a life of his own.
He brought his wife to me,
They took me into their home.

That is where I lived
until my very last day,
far away from the park,
and that bench in the shade.



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