Broken World, A Poem for My Daughter

Photo by Bureau of Land Management

‘Has the world always been broken?’
asked the girl, eyes laden with sorrow
Her grandfather knotted his fingers together,
paper-thin skin over cobweb veins
and considered which truth to convey

Should he comfort her as he longed to do,
until her heart had no knowledge of hate
or unfold to her the wisdoms he had amassed
though they weighed like scars upon his soul,
such that he longed for the river of forgetfulness?

The girl grew impatient with his silence
as the old man spooled through yellowed memories:
flags in the wind, bodies in the dust,
the sickly scent of death creeping up his nostrils,
the wail of sirens amidst a world of clanking skeletons

He thought of flawed men and crumbling soil,
of mirrors, megaphones and mob rule,
diminished trust and drowning sanity,
halls of power where the politics
of division and fear bloomed like a black rose

He turned to the girl in her innocence and expectancy,
and gathered her into his fragile embrace
because no walls could exist where there was love
As the moon ascended from the horizon
he told her there would always be hope

As long as day and night alternated
as long as good men asked difficult questions
as long as listeners did not become a lost tribe
as long as the brave were willing to leap over barricades,
driven by love not hate, to herald a new dawn

When he stopped talking, her breath had slowed in sleep
and he smiled, knowing that this girl would one day
become a woman, who could change the world

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