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June 16th

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Gift From an 18-Year-Old Poet - Upbring

with closed eyes

The following poem was written by a BeREAL* participant in New Orleans―a single mother who is now attending college. We think this young woman’s words speak for themselves.

RETHINK

Close your eyes when you stop to talk to me.

And as you do just imagine the pretty things.

Because as you do,

I’m wishing I could do the same

But as you know of the horror that roams my brain.

I stand looking at you trying to think of pretty thoughts

while in my mind I remember only tears

and battles I have lost.

Close your eyes when you go to talk to the next child

And as you start to say

how things have been so well

Take into consideration that maybe to them

Life has been hell.

While that child tries to compliment you

After they have been held down

So don’t be confused if that smile quickly turns to a frown.

Close your eyes when you go to help the next child in need

Because a simple kind heart

Is maybe something the child never seen.

Only mean words that scared the child’s soul

and lonely nights that kept them hungry and cold.

And for every adult in this room

Take the time to

Close your eyes

And when you do

Let the many faces of children you have helped reappear.

Because even though the child is far away

Your love you gave is still near.

And since you have given love to that child

They no longer worry of cold nights,

or lost battles,

or the mean words people say

because of the love you gave it stays,

and scares those things away.

And for that I and all of the other children say thank you.

* BeREAL, a pilot program in New Orleans, provides transition services for youth ages 13-25 aging out of Louisiana’s foster care system, through training, support, and mentoring programs.

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