A child’s tiny feet stepped tenderly upon papery leaves- moist with the early morning dew. Pale blonde curls bounced about her shoulders as her carefree head bobbed to cheerful, nonexistent music. A faint humming sprang from her lips and danced along the crude dirt road she was following home. Home, as in the four walls her family currently resided in, was a small, decaying, off-white trailer surrounded by other small, decaying, off-white trailers.
She had woken that morning, curled up in a makeshift pallet on the hardwood floor of a family friend’s home, one that very much resembled her own. The child sat up, gazed around the room at the small mountains of blankets and her slightly older sister, who seemed at that time to be ages in advance, and rubbed her tired eyes, frowning at the moody gray shadows cast about the room by the dreary drapes hanging above the window. Being only three years old, but having done it countless times before, she stood up lazily and let herself into the hallway, followed the sound of a familiar snore into the living room, glanced at the bald giant spread out over the shabby couch, and struggled with the almost too high doorknob of the front door before stepping out into the chilled autumn air.
The sun, reaching desperately through cracks in the ceiling of clouds above, reflected in small pools of vibrant blue as the girl judged the distance she would be traveling. She walked steadily towards her destination, allowing her clear eyes to wander about, falling upon flowers that appeared glassy beneath the morning moisture and the haggard bodies of hungry neighborhood cats with vacant eyes like frosted windows.
A child’s tiny feet climbed the few creaking steps to her front door before she let herself inside. Her delicate fingers ran up and down the wood panel walls of the hallway as she tiptoed to her mother’s bedroom. Curtains the color of a peach rose were hung above the two windows, and the light they cast about the room was warm and sweet. The air almost seemed foggy, surreal, with tiny dust particles floating in the soft rays of light that pierced the curtains and drifted into the room. The child crept gingerly past her infant brother’s hand-me-down crib and around the bed, peeking over the folds of the sheets to catch a glimpse of her young mother.
For a few short seconds, the girl stood there, leaning forward with her face mere inches from the woman’s, listening to the deep breathing that accompanies the unconscious. Without debating, the girl crawled into the bed and laid next to her mother, observing the soft features of her face, the light freckles scattered across the bridge of her nose, the tender pink of her slightly parted lips. Without waking its owner, a protective arm instinctively protruded from between the sheets and wrapped around the girl.
A child’s tiny feet brushed against her mother’s knees as they lie together in a sea of blankets. The mother slept, regaining the much needed energy to care for three children, and the girl watched her, savoring the comfort that encompassed her in that moment.
Nonfiction prose poetry.