Adoption – A poem

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

She gripped the yellow crayon in her pudgy fingers;

tried best to colour within the lines.

I sat across from her colouring my own piece.

We didn’t speak.

What do I say to a three-year-old?

She selected a green crayon

tongue between her teeth in concentration.

What was she thinking about?

Did she wonder about her mom?

Did she understand where her mother was?

She swapped the green crayon for a brown one.

Did she have any idea about her visit here?

This visit to her grandparents would be for longer than a weekend.

Does such a young child understand time?

“I’m thirsty,” she pronounced without looking up from her page.

Nana asked if she’d like a glass of milk.


“Yes, please?”

“Yes, please, Nana.”

I watched her take big gulps of her milk.

She held the cup with both hands.

She gave me a weak smile, wiped her lips;

returned her concentration to her artwork.

Her smile so much like my sister-in-law’s.

In the days when she smiled.

I didn’t know it had gotten this bad.

The call from the hospital was a bombshell.

The explosion ripped apart this small family.

Abandoned by her father years earlier

now her mother in no state to care for her.

An orphan.

We both reached for the red crayon.

I let her have it.

She started to colour the flowers.

I wondered if she remembered the red carnations

in the vase at her mom’s bedside.

Nana put away the last of the dried plates in the cupboard.

Walked over to us and tousled the girl’s blond hair lightly.

“May I colour with you?” Nana sat beside her.

She slid her picture over to share.

(First featured on Medium platform March 19, 2021)
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