There is a little boy who plays at the edges of my yard.
He flips rocks into the dirt and then pushes them around like cars;
He draws lines with sticks and occasionally raises them to eye level,
Whispering “bang, bang,”
Cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians
But always all alone
With no one but the birds to play the other roles.
He is a sweet little thing
With a mass of tussled hair and ***** knees,
And the brutal truth is
That I can feel his hunger
When he looks at me.
It isn’t that he is thin,
But that he is starving for something that I freely give
To my own kids.
I can’t even put a name to what it is.
Something about being seen.
Something about mattering
When the rest of the world seems so big
And you are still so incredibly
Yesterday, he startled me when he called me “mom,”
Just like that
Because I smiled.
How lost must be a little child who so easily claims such a bond
With a stranger!
I cannot be your mom, little boy,
But I see you, and I see your little spirit that has been, perhaps,
Pushed aside for too long.
I will always offer you a smile and small piece of time
Before you run off home and I can only hope
That the ones who open the door
Might see what kind of chance they have been given in the beautiful
Form of a child.
Inspired by so many little ones I've met in my life and across this country with a hunger to be seen and to be loved, playing all alone in a world that doesn't hear.