You Are My Precious Thing

I’m watching a tiny girl on the bus, with her mother.

Her eyes are swollen pink marshmallows,
fixed in a hard, unmoving gaze at nothing.

Deeply wounded beyond her years,

face locked in an iron will of focus and control.
She is working it out of her.
Maturity held firm in her quivering and gasping lower lip.

All else is still about her –
stone still.
Legs hanging stiff like thin twigs.

She is five or six years old,
and very skinny –
wearing a baby blue bonnet
and one of those cute, stripped dresses
that tend to give me the impression that
the parents look at their child like a dress up doll.

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