I ask him if he thinks he can do better

If he knows he can be better

And he shrugs the way only little 9 year old boys who have no hope left can


I ask him again

But this time

I tell him to use his words

And to look me in these eyes

These eyes that have nothing but love for his broken little soul

I kneel to his level as if to humble myself to what God is in him

In an act of worship

Loving each other

Loving the least of these

The forgotten ones

I kneel


His continence raises

And says “no”

Tears welling up

He says “no”


“I can’t do anything



Or otherwise”

But he doesn’t know to say that

Or what words to use

So instead

He uses the only word he know deeply

Hears daily



With that word

My heart cracks and bruises with this little boy

Who does not belong to me

Who one day will forget

I love him more than I thought I ever could

More than I thought I had left in me

And love wants the best for others

Love sees the best in others


And I want this boy to see the best in himself

The way I see him

That he is amazing

He can be amazing

If someone


Decides that he is

Good enough



But all I can do is hug him

Deciding to give him the only holy gift of healing I know

Poetry and time

Because poetry changes the way you see yourself and the world

And time is how to spell love to a child


He takes one of those breaths that are staggered from holding too much in

Turns his mahogany eyes to look through me for me

Arms wrapped against my neck in desperation

Whispers softly

“I’m sorry miss Katie, I’ll try harder”


No Oliver

I am sorry

I’ll try harder

To never let you forget

Who you are

And how worthy you are


5 thoughts on “Oliver

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