What Does She Know

From my poetry notebook…This Ain’t Shakespeare.

what does she know

What does a young girl know?

More than she should.

 

How to keep from getting a fist in the face,

By going down on her knees.

 

How to avoid the biting sting of a slender tree limb,

By lying helplessly on her back and succumbing to force.

 

How to stop the lash of a black, leather belt,

By surrendering her body to what she knows is wrong.

 

What else is a young girl taught?

Things she should never be taught.

 

Not to trust,

Because trust leads to disappointment.

 

How to deceive,

Because her entire life is a lie.

 

How to present a smile to the world,

When inside she’s drowning in her own tears.

 

Not to believe what is shown in the mirror.

Because her eyes see a pretty, little girl.

But her mind sees a child, ugly and twisted.

 

What else does a young girl know?

Exactly what she needs to.

 

She learns to survive.

To hibernate in her own silent shell.

To build up invisible walls.

That even hurt cannot penetrate.

 

She learns to free her mind from her body.

To a place where they can co-exist,

Without falling to pieces.

 

This is what a young girl learns…

From her father.

 

 

 

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The Playground

From my book…Mom’s Eye View.

 

abandoned playground

There’s nothing as lonely as an overgrown playground with rusting equipment. The sight of an abandoned school yard bereft of the sounds of children at play, is like seeing a backyard pool with autumn leaves floating across the darkened water. It reminds me of the passing of seasons and the loss of lazy afternoons filled with fun and laughter.

I stand and look at what once was a small schoolhouse, now converted into a home. I see, in my mind, the shadows of its former life. The windows lifted open wide on a warm spring day, the fresh air clearing out the chalk dust and mustiness of a classroom that’s been closed off for the winter. I can see the doors suddenly banging open as children rush out to claim the spring day as their own.

children running to the playground

They burst onto the schoolyard, a bundle of tamped down energy, charging towards the once shiny swings. The swing’s only purpose, to aid in its young pilot’s flight into the heavens.

children on metal swing

I can visualize the crooked line of impatient children waiting to mount the first step that will lead to the top of a gleaming slide. I see the sun beating down on its surface, warming it to a finger jumping touch. The glare from the sun on the shiny slide, momentarily blinding the children; causing them to squint before flying down the length of the slide.

I imagine hearing the playful screams of little girls being chased by boys. Boys climbing over one another as they scale the jungle gym; racing against one another in order to be the first to make it to the top.

On the asphalt, jump rope fanatics twirl and skip to a monotonous and lyrical beat. Still others hopscotch into chalked squares after throwing down a pebble.

The sound of a basketball slamming against a backboard; then the resounding thwack of it hitting the tar, prompts a whoop from a child who is now two points ahead in the game.

A whistle tweets and a loud chorus of disappointment echoes across the playground. Children reluctantly shuffle across the school yard to line up, single file, then obediently re-enter the small house of education.

I walk over the to now-faded leather seat of a swaying swing and sit. I automatically push off and begin to pump my feet, then arch my back in an effort to increase momentum. I close my eyes and think back to a little girl who also yearned to reach the heavens.

When I open my eyes, I realize how quickly the years have flown by and I’m saddened by the passage of time. There are so many demands on being an adult that there seems no time to relax. Would I want to be a child again? I don’t think so. To go back would mean to relive my life. Though there are many moments that were wonderful, there are also moments of heartbreak and sorrow.

Still, it would be nice to feel that carefree spirit of when I was a child. To once again believe in nothing more than being able to reach the heavens, on playground swing.

girl on swing

 

From my book, Mom’s Eye View