Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Returning

Maybe the sky was crying
Seeing a little girl
Returning to the place
Where her birth mother
Last held her tiny hand.

All I know is,
It doesn't rain like it did yesterday
In Tianjin very much.
Raindrops slamming down
Onto the sidewalk,
Soaking the hems of our jeans.

That place,
Safe to leave a baby,
A place filled with military men,
Where she was sure to be found.
A building, not imposing, but simple,
Yet secure.

Policemen looked, but could not find them.
They'd disappeared into the city,
Maybe back into the countryside, even,
Her birth parents--
"Mama, Baba."
People she would never know.

I wonder, if they drive past this building,
If they walk this sidewalk,
Under these trees,
Under this weeping sky,
If they look and regret, that fragile day in August
Eight years ago?

Was she crying when they left her?
Did she know they were leaving
Instinctively?
Did she feel how much they loved her,
Taking her where she could be found?

Did her mother breathe, "Baby mine,
You will find a new home,
With hope and a future
That we cannot give...."

How that mother's heart must have
Wretched
Walking away,
How the tears must have spilled hot--
How she must have struggled to breathe.
Nine months and a painful ordeal
For this.

Returning home
Arms empty.

Our driver and his wife,
and their five-year-old son,
In the front two seats,
Their skin dark like our daughter's.
I look at them and think
People like them....

And wonder what they think
Of us standing in the rain,
Snapping pictures in front of this
Simple building.

People like them....
"Maybe your birth parents were
From the countryside," I say,
Sitting in KFC
Over chicken nuggets,
"Like our driver and his wife."

"Mommy, you're making me think
They are my parents," she says.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean
To make you think that."

"But you did," she says.

I hold her hand as we walk down the stairs,
To the road where the van waits,
To our driver and his wife
And their round-eyed boy.

Rain slices through the humid air,
Hammering against the van windows,
As my daughter,
Her hair flecked with water,
Snuggles deep into my arms.

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