Daughter, until I saw your silhouette

in the second-story window

of the darkening room,

waif in a flannel gown,

silent and still as a night bird

hidden in one of the maples outside,

I thought loss of innocence was

a complete definition of sadness


I could hear the children

of the neighborhood

outside our new house

playing red light/green light

under the two tall street lights,

the voices of their younger

sisters and brothers chattering

in the shadows on the lawns,

and sensed your longing

as you stared down on them,

fingers laying flat

on the white wood of the sill


The therapists declared I needed

to be firm with a child

who knew no boundaries,

bedtime was bedtime,

and I curse them now,

seeing the back of you again

in that window frame

as soft and compliant

as a blade of grass

after dew falls,

feeling in my soul

the sadness of not saying,