(Painting by Kathlea Francynn Gawani Yangot, aged 8)


by Cheryl L. Daytec

Look at her hands
with unvarnished nails
now rough from age
and labor in her youth
They have embraced
many babies in their cribs
and driven away
the obnoxious goblins
that called on them
at night and in solitude
Look at her mouth
with unpainted lips
How many words
have flowed from them
softly like the feel
of cotton on bruised skin
restoring confidence
and soothing nightmares?
Look at her eyes –
they are tired and now read
through rounded spectacles
about her children’s small
victories which to her seem
large as life. They have seen
through the heart of every
child. They cried the tears for
every child’s shattered dream
Her feet -now set on
brittle bones- have walked
endless distances for
a can of infant milk
or a drop of cough syrup
or a basic writing pad
Look at her ears
unadorned with precious gems
They have listened
to anguish, to exhilaration,
to lies, and to truths,
to fiery temper,
to half-meant apologies
Her skin now sags from age,
her back is slightly hunched


She has had a full life.
For she has given
a proud dimension to the word