Family Tree

Comes a moment
when a child’s empathy is tested.
Like heavy snow on the slenderest branch
you hope for deep bend, no cracking.
You should have known
there’s nothing brittle about her.
You watch her choose the right
but painful thing,
swelling with tears to near-burst
but she does not break.
She is pliable; she is green.
And mama, you too must bend.
What do you choose in the face of her tears?
You are the oak.
Describe your pride, your weathering,
your wonder at her strength, then
join her in sorrow.

Dear Corey asked the Real Toads to write about a time when we did not know how to feel about what was happening. It’s #28 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.