The scene plays in my head
over and over again in an infinite loop
as I try to understand
what it would feel like to hold a child.
The air keen in her lungs, cold and throbbing,
lightning darting out of her eyes like
flashes of the future. Heart thundering.
Now all I want to do is sing her a song –
a promise of magic and laughter and a perfect world
where she can be anything she wants to be –
a dream chaser, a cloud surfer –
queen of the stars!
But the music dies in my throat
somewhere between intention and reality –
Because you see, I was taught that a star is just
a big ball of flamin’ gas far far away
and it’s really not that much fun to rule over
a thermo-nuclear reaction.
How do I tell her that?
How do I tell her that in this world
we have created for ourselves,
parents sometimes have to bury their children,
and children sometimes have their childhood stolen from them
and are given guns (metaphorical or otherwise)
and are taught to kill their parents.
How do I tell her that
we have poisoned her rivers, carved out her mountains
ripped apart generations of people –
”We’re sorry, but we thought it was necessary.”
How do I warn her about
the do-gooders who will shoot down her dreams
when they are still soft and naked,
with just three words – ”not good enough.”
How do I sing her this new song of this new world
when all I wanted to tell her was that
ever new dawn is a reason to dance.
She looks like nothing more than
a big pink soggy raisin in my arms
a mess of snot and hope,
but when she smiles,
the light just spills out of her eyes,
and almost drowns me. Hands shaking –
I cannot fight her strength
because I am reminded again and again that
she is a miracle,
and the end of the world will just have to wait –
because she is smiling.
I don’t need a song of rainbow and stars
poverty and heartbreak.
This is my song.
Just come home.
We’re waiting to see you smile.
Winner of the Prakriti Festival Poetry slam – Audience favorite, student, english category. So someone must think it’s good, yes?