Another Art

She was still little, still
in the grips of a big city
big enough to send us from Northern Queens, to Harlem
sibling visits.

When we got off the train,
men on stoops made kissing sounds
motioning to her to join them
in her pinafore and baby curls
Come ere, baby. Come to daddy.

Now, comes the art of
ignoring:
the dirty playrooms, “Don’t
touch the toys, honey,”
the dirty crib sheets
and sober babies.

All caught in the crossfire
of the drug war
on children.

We were somehow able to ignore the crack
-addicted parents on supervised visitations,
the petrified children, even
how her little sister would cling to us
and beg us to take her, too.

Her foster mother, gang member,
scared me. After all, I had
reported the vaginal bruising.
When it comes to the art of ignoring,
I was never any good at it.

Our modest house waited far
away—the adoption, further.
On the train, I held
her tightly. The pulse
of the city ran full through our ears.

 

Penny Freeland

About Penny Freeland

I am a NYC transplant, now living in Cape Hatteras. I have been writing since before I could hold a pen, when I would memorize my work. I teach writing and Literature, online and I love my work. I have raised all of my kids and now live with my min-pin. We walk the beach and find sea glass.
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