American Princess

American Princess

I held out my gift to her,
a story I'd written for all children.

She approached shyly,
a distant trace of Asia in her eyes, hair and skin,
but this was one of America's daughters, from the reservation.

I'd read a page or two of chapter one aloud,
then told the class I'd brought books to share.

They came forward one by one.
I asked of their names so i might inscribe
a joyful note to each.

I wondered if she liked hawks.
She said she did, her voice as quiet as the prairie wind.

I wrote a simple message:

I hope you will fly as high in your life
as the hawks do each day.


She smiled and thanked me, but before
she could escape, I asked a small favor.

After you finish reading it, I said,
please share it with your mother
and the rest of your family.

Her soft brown eyes flinched,
as if a soreness had been bumped.

Mom is in jail,
she said,
her voice quavering.

Stunned, I could not speak.
At last a weak sound, perhaps the fading echo
of a trapped hawk's cry of despair escaped my lips.

When she gets home will be soon enough.
Photo by Ana Francisconi on Pexels.com

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