By Rebecca Hersh

Under your covers I always felt safe.
All nightmares over,
I could finally rest.

When you hugged me close,
I knew I was protected.
Always there to swoop me up,
you pulled me out of chaos.

Packing up boxes,
Starting all over,
Working hard,
You gave me all I needed.

Coming home.
Late, a long day of earning
High heels clicking the hallway.
The light from the hall would stream in the room
as you climbed into bed beside me.

You would read to me,
not nursery rhymes
but poetry
from your grown up books.

I first time I saw your tears,
I was terrified, in awe.
How could you, my wall be broken?

You cried for your mother,
tears falling
on a picnic bench.

I remember hugging you,
whispering it would be ok.
Trying to protect you,
from things I did not yet understand.

You taught me all you knew,
and let me learn the rest.

You taught me to protect myself,
so you could let me go.

I remember sitting on your bed,
worried and listening.

You raged against them,
not paying attention
to what you stuffed in your duffel.

I pleaded with you not to leave me,
to try to work it out,
Mom wasn't that bad.

You said it was too late-
They’d gone too far,
you just couldn't’t take it anymore.

I begged you to
bring me with you.
All my jumpers packed and ready.

You told me you wanted to, really you did,
but it was too risky.
They’d have you for kidnapping if they could.

Kissing me on the forehead
as a way of explanation.

Then you were gone.

How they pounded your locked door,
they pounded for hours.

When they realized you were gone,
how they shook me for answers.

I kept hoping you’d be back to pick me up,
Your face waiting in my window.

I didn't’t understand how you could leave,
how people could leave,
and never come back.


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