Holding Hands

She cries in my arms
with no words to describe her feelings.
No words I could possibly understand,
I mean; language flows from her but
none is understood.

We have a barrier so we try to climb it
with looks, soft touches, and smiles.
When people ask me
“why her?”
“why there?”

I tell them her tears match mine.
They flow down her face
the same way that mine do.
When we hold hands, her skin is not
yet as soft as mine but I hope to make it so.
We have both met trauma
in the shadows. In a time
when we thought life
would be like sunshine
with maybe just some rainy days.

We didn’t know that love looks like cold water
in the summer time instead
of open hand bruises on skin
made by the one who says
“you are my mine!”
She cries so hard
she can’t breathe.

She hides her face in shame
because everyone
who has every seen her cry
has scorned her “pabebe.”
I never knew that I would
be called “mother”
by a child who holds
her skin color as a weight.
I never knew how anger
would then hold my hands.

How my heart would cry every time
they looked at her and then looked at them.
She cries in my arms and I feel whole
because my arms are home to her.
My arms will protect her.
My arms will comfort her &
maybe her blood is not my blood
and maybe she did not come from my womb
but either way
she is mine
and I am hers.

Written by: ReBecca DeFazio
July 2019

***Pababe – A Tagalog word that translates to “childish” but is more or so used as “brat” or “crybaby”.