Becoming a Child

I am a baby. I speak like a baby, all present tense and broken. I see instead of hear: Soft faces, patient nods.

I am a child. I try to read, sound things out. I donít know all the letters though. I donít get all the sounds right.

I am small. I bob in the waves and I donít wear make-up. Strangers on the shore keep an eye out for me making certain I donít drift away.

A boy takes my hand. I am not sure his father urged him to. A boy takes my hand, leads me out to a place past where the waves break. Silver fish hide in my shadow.

I am bigger now. I walk on my own. Too proud to ask directions but itís a good place to be lost.

I am small again and thirsty. Coke in a bottle from a sweaty cooler like the first time I was young. Sweaty money in my sweaty palm, she only takes the right coins.

I am subject to strangers. Strangers are kind. I am grateful to feel so helpless, a child in a world that loves children.

I may grow old here. I may learn to read and write.

I may become a child, aided and forgiven.