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To a dirty blonde girl in a purple, oversized coat from Goodwill - Hayley Stoddard

I felt her inside me, the little girl so

frightened, a tear stained face

looking around anxious and alone

looking for a stay, an anchor

somewhere to take hold

It’s going to be me, I said. I

will do it. I can show you

the tenderness, the guidance.

Wisdom has come

painfully and in pieces, but

I can take your hand, give you

all that I have, share what

little I know, and you can be

safe with me. You can stop

looking out there

for someone to save you. I will

do it. I’ve learned how. Give me

the tears that no one would catch,

the hand unheld, the many hours

alone, and give them all to me.

I’ll do it.

The love I feel for you now is greater

than all that I had built up to hide you. Let

me give my space to you, and you will be

safe in me. Because they can’t. And it’s

ok. They have their own children to

carry. Everyone does.

But I can carry you. I can carry you.


Hayley Stoddard is a California native who is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Colorado. She has been influenced by such writers as Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, Anne Lamott, Leonard Cohen, and Mary Oliver. Her work has appeared in Winged Nation, and Parley. Several of her poems will be published in the upcoming issues of Oberon, After the Pause, Beyond Words, and Eris +Eros.


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