On Leaving

It’s inevitable you will go away.

Planned from the beginning for you to stay – temporarily – but no less on the agenda.

You belong to your family in small doses and to us, who you call by first names,

because blood runs thick.

Tethered by circumstances, caseworkers and other grief makers, you hazily float through Limbo.

“We are in the honeymoon stage,” your griefmaker tells us. That’s why you’re so good.

You say “I’m o.k.”, feign a smile, go to school, play ball, count the days.


You leave, visit Grandma, come back. Another weekend visit and we pick you up.

Now, we are your griefmaker.

There is a sad show on T.V. The caseworker is taking the confused child to a foster home.

The father is drunk and crying.

You say, out loud, in our quiet room, “That is a cruel thing to do”.

Everyone and no one hears you. Then, at last, your cry, soft and miserably. The sorrow spills over

and runs down your cheeks.

Tears are temporary, like all things in Limbo.

Later, we talk, about you going home, leaving this place.

And, I wonder – How can you? – When you have never really been here at all.

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