RESILIENT

She walks with silent dignity.

She holds herself with quiet grace.

She meets your glance with eyes full.

Her eyes filled with life, its twists, and turns, its bitterness its sweetness.

She has seen it all, almost all, yet she lives.

She lives not merely existing but living.

She exudes gentle and solemn confidence.

She has lived loved and hurt.

She has mourned a loved one.

She has felt the pain of empty hands.

She has felt the sting of betrayal.

She has felt the dizzying disbelief of human violence rent upon her.

Oh, but she still dares to hope, to trust.

She believes that she will yet see another good day.

She grabs with all her strength hope that rises in her heart like the breaking dawn.

 

WARMTH

The hot piece of baguette in my worn out duffel bag warmed my back.

Its tantalizing aroma warmed my mind with the prospect of a full belly.

The kind words, warm demeanor, of the sales lady at the bakery, and the way she served me with goodwill, warmed my soul.

I only had 45 cents.

I had been too ashamed to enter the bakery to buy bread because I knew I did not have enough money.

I had walked for quite a while, scanning the ground, looking for a coin to add to the little money I had.

It was getting late, and I was anxious to get something to eat.

I gathered courage and entered the bakery.

“How much is a baguette,” I asked the baker, terrified I would make a fool of myself.

“85 cents” she replied.

“Is it possible to buy half?” I ventured.

“Definitely yes, would you like a piece?” she asked me.

“Yes please” I responded with joy.

“Happy new year” I shyly added as I gave her 45 cents for the bread.

She looked at me and with a big warm smile and wished me a happy new year.

I left with a spring in my steps.

It is a happy new year because tonight I have a warm piece of bread and I was welcomed and served with respect.

I am full, despite the rumbling in my belly.

 

BLEMISH

She had sores all over her face.

They didn’t fill her whole face but gathered themselves into groups.

Each group had their territory.

One group was right above the left eyebrow.

The next one aligned itself along the right side of her face, between her cheek and the graceful curve of her nose.

The last group occupied the tip of her chin.

My first reaction when I saw her was repulsion, then pity, followed by something more profound.

Something warm, kind, in a kindred spirit kind of a way.

I couldn’t look into her eyes, lest I saw what I knew was there.

The pain and shame.

Pain caused by these uninvited inhabitants who took up space on her face.

The pain of the itch they caused her.

An itch she couldn’t relieve by scratching because the doctor forbade her to.

The pain of her parents and siblings bewildered, helpless looks.

They didn’t know what to do to ease her suffering.

The pain of rejection.

She saw people instinctively recoil and move away from her, giving her a suspicious and wary look.

They wondered if even the slightest contact with her would infect them.

Even children didn’t want to play with her.

Harsh looks and reprimands from their parents smothered their natural warmth and kindness.

She felt shame; she didn’t even know why she felt ashamed anymore.

Many things made her feel shame.

She felt ashamed of not being normal.

She felt ashamed of making everyone around her uneasy and guilty.

The guilt they felt for despising her because they found her repulsive.

The guilt that came from the relief they felt because it wasn’t them but her with a blemished face.

She felt ashamed of making them angry and hateful.

She reminded them of the frailty of their existence.

If this can happen to a nine-year-old girl, who apart from her face seemed to be in good health, then it can happen to them.

I finally dared to look into her eyes.

Our eyes locked.

She gracefully cocked her head and smiled at me.

The beauty of her smile was a sight to behold.

 

ESTRANGED

I came back beloved home, but you were gone.

I looked for you everywhere, but I could not find you.

Did I go away for too long?

Did I go too far away?

Is that why you decided to leave me?

Is that why you decided to leave no trace of your presence behind?

I have become a stranger, beloved home.

I am a stranger in my backyard, no longer at ease, with nowhere to rest my weary self.

 

HOPELESS

She holds on, convincing herself that all will be well.

She looks on the bright side. Convincing herself that she will rise again stronger than before.

She faces head-on, the rising tide of a malady in her beloved’s life.

 

Oh, broken expectations that choke her, as the reality hoped for fades away like mist in the noonday sun.

Oh, hope gone leaving no recollection of its brief sojourn on her now dry, parched heart.

Her heart is now discouraged, disillusioned, distressed, disturbed, distraught, disbelieving, distanced.

She deems her dreams dislocated, disbanded for her loved one is deceased.

 

ALIVE!

Today, I laughed as I haven’t laughed in a long time.

Today, I cried like I haven’t cried in a long time.

Today, I have received consolation like I haven’t in a long time.

Today I have lived.

 

DEAR FRIEND

I have not spoken to you for a while.

I have not heard your smiley voice for a while.

I have enjoyed reading the text messages you sent me.

I have enjoyed those lovely photos you sent me.

 

I know that neither the phone calls nor the text messages tell it all.

I know that the cute pictures you send don’t tell it all.

I know that there are things too weighty to send by text message.

I know that there are tears I cannot wipe because you are far away.

 

Oh, but do know this my dear friend, my little sister.

 

You are always on my mind.

You are always in my prayers.

You are always my precious friend.

You are always my precious little sister.

 

It’s too harsh at times that I know.

It’s too heavy to bear at times that I know.

It’s lonely and depressing at times I understand.

It’s scary and frightening at times I understand.

 

Oh, but do know my dear little sister, my friend.

 

You are loved.

You are precious.

You are stronger than you think.

You are wiser, gentler than you think.

 

Don’t give up.

Don’t give in.

Don’t break down.

Don’t burn out.

 

You are not alone. Loving, tender arms are around you daily.

You are not alone. Lovely lady flowers, little boy’s tiny fingers, and chubby cheeks are encouraging you.

You are not alone. Your love is by your side daily.

You are not alone. Look around and see these friendly faces that cheer you on daily.

 

Oh, my dear Ronnie, text me, call me. For the silence between speaks volumes.

 

 

SOAR!

You came with those hesitant tiny steps and a big dream.

You struggled to find your thread in this tapestry called life.

You accepted that this strand that is your life spanned from a faraway nation. To this new country, you now call home.

You learned a language that wasn’t yours.

You adopted your new life, new country, new family.

You cried, laughed, rebelled, yelled, fell and stood up again.

Your heart overflowed with love. Each new arrival at home mesmerized and amazed you.

You cuddle, hug, and even reprimand them at times. Yes, you do!

You are a big sister who tends to mother them!

You were in doubt at the crossroad of your high school final years.

You wondered which road to take.

You chose one direction, then turned to another in confusion.

You wept in frustration, doubting yourself, your world seemingly chaotic.

You then stood up, leaning and holding onto the loving arms outstretched to guide you.

You accepted the help, but not without a gusty fight, trying to have your way.

You have a mind of your own and a strong will. It is a good thing.

You chose this road you are now on.

You followed the deep desire you had within you.

You pressed on even though the dream was vague and seemed impossible.

You failed at your first attempt to achieve your goal.

You almost threw in the towel.

You wailed and wept.It was a good thing for you grew.

You stood up again and moved forward one hesitant yet resolute step after the other.

You’ve made it.

You’ve achieved your goal at last.

You tell me that the journey has just begun.

You are right, but the foundation you laid down, in the beginning, is priceless.

Soar, fly dear.

Fix your eyes ahead of you.

Focus on the price that is your dream.

You will fall again.

You will fail again.

You will hurt again.

In all this, one thing remains true.

You will stand again.

You will grow yet again.

You will be wiser.

You will refine and hold tighter to your dream.

You have fantastic potential, capabilities, gifts, and talents in you.

You are never alone.

You know that don’t you, my dear Tash.

 

 

DEJECTED

You cry, silent tears, fatigued, burned out.

How do you capture them in words?

These elusive emotions.

You can smile, laugh, live, work.

You can do many things, while they lurk beneath the surface.

The sadness, the regret, the disappointments, the betrayals.

The endless list of things left unachieved, suspended, regretted.

 

DESPAIR

Life takes its toll on the likes of you and me.

When you think you’re in control, things get out of hand.

Despite your toiling and struggling, its all gone with the wind.

Leaving you completely helpless and winded.

 

Yes, you have wound up in the same place.

Yes, you have found out in due time.

Yes, you have ground hard on your teeth.

Yes, you have drowned in all this fury.