Open-mouthed, she stared at me
When I put it in her hand.
Bewilder-eyes moist with tears
And still I question why
She couldn’t see behind her sign
To see the things I saw.
“Anything,” her scribbled words,
“Anything will help.”
Stalling traffic there, I searched
For more than “anything.”
Plain in her eyes, I saw
A child of four in tattered clothes
A woman giving birth
A widow wailing at a grave
A swirling fancy dress
A needle deep within a vein
A silent life of silent days
A dream in pieces on the ground
A lonely broken hope.
I hear the voices shouting now
“She’ll spend it all on drugs!”
“Don’t you know better than to encourage them?”
“She’ll tell the others and they’ll all come to you.”
“Don’t do that.” “Don’t do that.” “Don’t.”
But what I’ve placed into her hand
Is not a puppet string.
My hand to hers is all my part
No matter what comes next.
I will not pin her to a board
Snarled in ‘thou shalt not’
No boundaries, no control,
I set her free, and free myself as well.
If life is indeed a gift of god,
Then he should treat it so,
Making no demands
For even children know
A gift comes with no strings.

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