Passing Judgement

Passing Judgment

by Rebecca Varner

Toothy grins peek shyly around a rusted door,

The windows are broken, shattered glass everywhere.

A welcoming mother provides a fire escape from

The blistering sun that scorches the earth.

The sweat rolls lazily down my forehead,

Gathering speed as it plunges off the tip of my nose.

The flies swarm over a rotting banana,

Taking over the yard that functions as a garbage can.

The flies are a wave in the ocean,

Covering the shore as they rise and fall in unison.

Giggling greets me sweetly as she darts out from her postage-stamp room.

Her hand slips into mine as I obediently follow her into a different world,

A world filled with sparkly magic and pretend,

Gallant knights, damsels in distress, and happily-ever-afters.

Curly tendrils frame a cherubic face,

Rosy cheeks and coral lips part to reveal strategically missing teeth.

My own laughter rings out as I watch her play

Her imagination transforms and ancient doll with missing limbs and a shoebox

Into an effervescent princess waiting for Prince Charming in an abandoned castle.

I desperately want to take her back with me, back to the ideal life, the life that you only see on TV shows, to give her a better future.

But this life has shaped who she is,

Her family, her playmates, her home.

The broken-down trailer, the permeating stench, the swarming flies.

Innocence prevails,

A loving family full of joyful hearts.

I let judgment pass on to someone else.






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