Saturday, December 18, 2010

Little Andu

Posted by PicasaOn Meeting Andu at the Dichee Orphanage


Little Andu with smile so wide,
ruddy cheeks hint of a happy child,
but your dark almond eyes own a sorrow
no child should understand.

Count to ten on fingers
bitten to the quick.
Recite your ABC’s.
Lead me by your tiny hand
to a musky sweet kitchen.
Rice boils on the black wood stove.

Take me to the room filled
with rows of metal beds,
your own shared with yet another
lice-infected, head-shorn little girl.

You stand so tall against the yardstick, taped
to the rough wooden door.
Your shaved scalp tickles my hand
as I measure, announce, ‘thirty-five inches,”
and silently add of pure humanity.

Your tiny hands pull on my arm
and at my heart
toward a rusty case holding
a mangy black dog big enough to ride.

Pulled by the fear of failure,
Pushed by a need to please,
You whisper a single English word – “dog,”
peek up from the corner of your slant eyes;
and hope for words of praise from this
pale skinned grandmother of another world.

Little Andu, your arms squeezed around
my neck when time to say good-bye.
Your rough head prickled my chest; burned
a little girl-sized hole that lingers today
and I remember…..

Little Andu with smile so wide,
ruddy cheeks hint of a happy child,
but dark almond eyes hold a sorrow
no child should understand.


By Nancy Leigh Harless





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