Through a Child’s Eyes

orange street-lamp sherbert,
an ice-cream cone right
outside my window, because daddy
I’m a little kid and I
love to love the world


Higher—A Story About Playgrounds

I remember you used to push
on the swingset
higher higher higher
so high I could see the
rose garden down the pretty path
I’d laugh and scream and you’d push
far too hard
but I wasn’t worried about falling
because you would’ve caught me,
I thought

Withdrawal (from a person)

withdrawal from a person
is different from a
drug—it is the
scratch of a rusty
house key with the message
“bitch” in
pretty red letters but you’ve gotta
turn the key, sweetie, so
what’s left
for me to
what’s left for me to
scratch up?

Tip of My Tongue—a story of repression and remembrance

Every single thing I’ve ever known is just barely stuck at the tip of my tongue
Three years of shoving a body’s worst tragedy
Into the dusty boxes at the back of a cobwebbed cluttered room
Can do that to a person’s mind

How to Ride a Bike—And Other Things my Father Taught Me

1) Fearing someone is a necessary part of loving them. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you will find someone who will tolerate loving you.

2) Never rely on anyone for comfort. The person who wipes away your tears can just as easily be the person who causes them.

3) Food is a weapon.

4) Hands are weapons.

5) Your own vulnerability will be used against you as a weapon.

6) These weapons will be used to harm you until you don’t know the meaning of the word “weapon” anymore. They will be used to harm you, repeatedly, even after an apology. Apologies can not be trusted. As such, weapons should be avoided at all costs.

7) Pain is sometimes a necessary punishment for bad behavior. If there’s no one around to hurt you for what you’ve done, then you must hurt yourself.

8) How to ride a bike.

9) How to recognize the constellations.

10) How to build whole worlds with just your words.

11) The person who taught you these things deserves all of your trust.

12) The person who deserves all of your trust will violate it again and again. And you will give it to them again and again anyways.

Declaration of Empathy poem by Josephine D.

Now is an urgent time
Children torn from their parents
the kidnapper
wars tearing families and towns apart
every drop of blood shed by innocent people
pushes us further into a well devoid
of empathy
that is needed
people in warring countries need us
for we are them
they are us
we must share their pain
walk side by side
holding hands in brotherhood
when towns are ravaged
by natural disasters
are we there to help
if so
because it is our duty
or because we feel for them
we want to help
they need our empathy

we are born with the capacity to love
in our time of need
we must remember
who we have loved
who loves us
can the authorities love?
not when the authorities are corporations
not when they’re the ones shoving us
into despair
a democracy means “governed by the people”
are we governing now
are we even being represented

what are our grievances
maybe they’re little girls
peering out of the windows of their homes
that no one will come tonight
maybe they’re the enemies who weren’t even considered human
maybe it’s a child howling for momma in a refugee camp
maybe they’re the armies rampaging
into foreign lands
not even in defense
maybe it’s the man standing on the side
of the street holding a sign
that is also his roof
that is also his family
they are
they need us
with empathy we must help

a scream to the government
to the people
trying to escape
out of mouths
tied closed by years of lies
“we are not the “good guys”.
How can we be when we’re killing innocent people.”
we are equals now
on the battlefield
always equals
there is no black and white

when you step into someone else’s shoes
they don’t step out
you become one
you combine
as two halves making a whole
when you are separate
you are only halves
without empathy