Through the stained glass windows the daylight burst in, sending sparkling shafts of light into the church. Yet the little ghost remained. Barely visible, yes, but to all who were still adjusting their eyes to the contrast of darkness and brightness inside, it was plainly there. It was a little girl ghost dressed in a thread-bare shift that came down to her knees and was tied loosely at the waist. She wore black boots and white socks, neatly cuffed at the ankles. She held her face tautly, as if afraid to speak or scream or curse, whatever little girl ghosts are wont to do on a Sunday in the middle of the coldest winter anyone could remember.
Do you know what isn’t lost,
what hasn’t been erased
That crazy smile of yours,
when you were a young girl.
In an instant, your whole face
would lift into a smile –
the cheeks, the nose,
even those oversized ears –
and not just your soon-to-be
And a look of mischievous fun
would sparkle in your wide green eyes,
signaling a sarcastic remark
was about to come my way.
But what I remember most
about that face, those eyes,
that wise-cracking smile
is the happiness you radiated –
such a simple happiness,
like that of a soul
always on the verge of laughter.
As the years go by
and I travel farther and farther
away from our beginning
and your ending,
this is the memory
I find myself returning to
again and again.
This is the portrait I hold
close to my heart.
I eat the food everyone eats:
lima beans, chocolate (mostly m&ms),
the occasional steak, and red delicious apples.
I dress myself in jeans and oversize t-shirts
(with names and logos I do not fathom).
I go to school because my mother tells me to.
And in my spare time I read difficult books.
You see, I have a lot of catching up to do.
With all this effort, I strive to be human
in the most human of ways.
A homo sapiens sapiens for the 21st century!
But often, late at night,
I have trouble following what I read
and I put the book down
and give in to the sounds all around:
like the rustling of a wolf family
as it stalks a rabbit in the undergrowth
or the fluttering of a solitary owl
as it descends upon the long branch of a tree.
Hoot, hoot it calls out in homage to the moon.
It is these sounds of paradise
that overtake me at times.
And then I know I will never be happy here.
I was designed for another time and place.
And I know that modern foods and science books
were never meant for me.
For I cannot ignore the hunger and pulse
of truly living things.