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The Motherless

Knotted hair and bubbling snot

Uncomprehending eyes

One grubby hand clenched

Around a plush rabbit leg

Bunny ears brushing grounded

Forever clinched

Hunger gurgling

Hope is lost

A shoe lace is untied

Dragging in the dirt

Threatening to to trip

Unzipped hoodie blue

The zipper partway up askew

“Where’s your mommy?”

The question echoes across time

The waif is always asking

Who cares for the motherless

No one can reach back

To wipe the nose

To brush the hair

To zip the coat

To stroke the cheek

To say there there

To tie the shoe

To make the snack

It is a timeless moment

It is forever petrified

As understanding grows

In eyes shielded and distrustful

No one cares for the motherless

The motherless no longer cry

Buffeted from one experience to the next



What can be done

When the motherless grow into

The only parents they will ever know

Learning finally to care

For the self abandoned

Always haunted by the ghost

Standing there holding

The only thing that’s real

white stuffed toy lying on brown soil
Photo by Magda Ehlers on

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