Her face is tear-streaked
This small girl
With the cardboard suitcase in her hand.
On my doorstep
Asking to come in.
It’s been a long time!
I hug her close.
I will make hot chocolate for you
With a marshmallow on top.
I’ll brush your hair tomorrow, it can wait.
I’ll be patient and gentle
Taking the tangles out.
What’s in your suitcase?
Dreams and secrets. A doll.
A photo of the black cat with the white chin and paws.
A book about a lost dog.
A brown plaid school dress, short-sleeved.
A bottle of perfume made from a kit.
Chocolate drunk and tears dried,
You tell me, gravely, that you will write a book.
I smile, and brush your tangled hair back
From your face.
Your very presence here