American Princess

Photo by @thiszun (follow me on IG, FB) on
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 
lingered in her eyes, hair and skin,

but she
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
from the Wonderments and Such collection

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