Friday, November 9, 2007


With the weather changing
they wear fall colors
in heaven. . . .

a bright orange and warm sweatshirt. . .
a pair of bright orange and warm pants . . .

plodding in slipper
- leaving behind the stupor
laughing with renewed acquaintances
who come
and go
when it gets cold

warm food
- clean sheets
- a shower
for 72 hours a piece of heaven.

I watch my daughter and wonder
- did you decide to come as you say to protect yourself from yourself and the streets and the bus ride home or were you transported
- like so many others.

There is a shipment tomorrow
- some will leave the state hospital awaits its new guests
- guests with thin upper lips and ears not quite right
- guests with beautiful smiles and innocent laughs
- my daughter is the youngest
- most are in for the first cold snap
- Minnesota is hard on the homeless
- those who lost their battle to alcohol before they were born.

I look at the faces
- the placement of the eyes
- once innocent now filled with street pain.
I look at the scars and gashes and nashes of white streaks
on dark skin and dark streaks on white skin
- scars have no mercy
- they remain.

Most are older
- perhaps many have children
- how many children
- it is easy to make a child

when you are lonely.
when you are scared.
when you are hurt.

It is easy to confuse sex with love.

It is easy to hurt a child when you don't understand.

I understand that my daughter is struggling with deep pain as she says hello to people she
met three years ago. She is not afraid of these people
- I have walked with her as before in odd times and odd places
as she recognizes a friendly face

- She says hello
- at a clinic or a store
- or perhaps the back alley on the way into church.

Had it really been three years since she came up the grey elevator to heaven
- for some people
- life on earth is a hellish struggle
- yet they laugh
- and smile here.

For a blink they are safe and warm and clean and the people who work here are good.

Her birth father told her he looks forward to the safety of heaven -

She talked to him this time
- to let him know she was his daughter
no not yet? will he believe it is really she here
the daughter he gave away.

- Perhaps it matters less now.
She knows and understands.
in the span of three years his mind has gone further away
and now once again he is safe
within the structure
and the rules
and the walls

within the boundaries of the orange clothes
and the grey elevator.

Hidden inside the tan building
- surrounded by trees turning orange for autumn - - -

the hopeless who pray to turn orange
before the frozen truth is exposed.

Who dare explore this truth.
Are we smart enough to seek answers.

My daughter smiles her beautiful smile.

Tomorrow her social worker will pick her up.
It will be time to go. . . .


when you are lonely.
when you are scared.


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