Numbered

The girl was known for shitting in her yard.  
I did so little for her.  She was small, a dandelion orb
with ragged hair like an old woman’s burnt from dye.  
Her face showed little sign of poverty—
it was her dusty shoes cut open at the top that told.
A bone look she’d mastered young, yet the curve
of her face was edible, like a rounded sparrow in hand.  
She wasn’t mean, but did what she wanted—quietly,
with a lift to her chin, while I struggled to teach her anything.
I’d like to say I brushed her brittle hair, called her beautiful,
coaxed out sight words that dawdled on her tongue.   
I dream of her spinning like a fairy dervish in my failure.  
Consider this a prayer, a foolish one.

More Poems by Tara Bray