American Princess

Photo by @thiszun (follow me on IG, FB) on Pexels.com
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
 
. . . j

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