She bent her lips in sensuous smiles
obscured by toddler innocence,
baby teeth breaking hearts
before a fourth birthday flew by;
I took a breath, blinked an eye
and she was taller, thinner,
stronger in her faith that fate
meant harm upon her
harmlessness.

Once upon a time,
little girls wore petticoats
to act like ladies,
but I think maybe mine
was older-eyed than I,
no need for skirts to swirl about
playtime-tattered ankles,
so rankled by the ugly in her world.

Face facing tomes of ancient history—
a mystery to me,
this little girl
voluminous in innocence
yet so determined to be brittle,
act a little morbid when the horrid
found its way into her mind.

She was Alice in a smoky
land of wonders,
before a sunburnt slap of grief
bereaved me,
singed skin singing solace
in contrast to her bright;
she was light
doused in formaldehyde
and buried underground to shroud
the sound of weeping
for a world she couldn't save.

Soul sinking into solemn bones,
water wishing refuge
from delusions, numb contusions
waiting for the pain
inside dull droves of rainclouds;
alabaster evanesced
into worm ridden caskets,
wooden handbaskets to hell.

But I stand here by this stone
staring at a shell,
she used to be a part of
me,
a love I can't regret
though she can't beget the feeling
with words.

I laugh at the absurdity
and weep.