Sabitini – Learning about Love (14)

It was as if everything happened faster in Guyana. You could be a teacher at 16, a wife at 17, a lover at 12. I was trying to teach my students about reading, but they were busy learning about love. Sadly, life doesn’t always prepare us for the landmines that crowd our futures, and we all pray sometimes to go backwards in time. Or just for a little piece of that innocence back. Here is a poem about one of my favorite students, Sabitini, who at 13, thought love was the answer to all her problems.

Sabitini presses her legs together
she does not want him to know
what she will give
for a promise of love
or twenty dollars
whichever he offers first

she is hoping for love
but banking on a handful of ones
counted twice just to make sure
stolen one at a time from his mother’s purse
twenty days of waiting

waiting for the dark promise
tucked inside a little boy’s longing
tucked inside a little girl’s hope

the girl inside the moon inside the reflection of the moon caught inside the girl’s eyes
she folds full moons to crescents
blinks

she doesn’t count the money
it doesn’t matter if a dollar’s missing
it’s there, fat in her palm
green as the mold on bread
and bathroom sinks at truck stops

and it is too late
too late to change her mind
to back down on her promise
too late to ask for innocence back

they close their eyes and walk into the dark.

What Others Are Saying

  1. SpeksSpeaker Jul 25, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    So much, it’s hard to keep up! All very strong, and tender as well…

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