Underpinnings

A flash of silver on a lapel,
On a tee-shirt,
On a sweater
On a hat,

A tiny humble shout,
A shy suggestion,
A statement,

A child sees the monsters
Beasts that loom
In the shadows
Gnashing their teeth,
Flexing their claws,
Under her bed
And in his closet

And the grown-ups,
Weary and preoccupied,
Say that there’s nothing there,
As they switch off the light
And close the door.

But the children know differently,
Can recognize things
The grown-ups can’t,

And they shiver in their beds,
Blankets pulled up to noses,
Thin fabric held tightly
As boundary and shield
Eyes wide
Unsleeping.

A small frightened hand
Finds another in the dark,
Sister’s arms
Encircle brother,

Safety in numbers
Safety in family,
Safety until the sun rises.

A flash of silver
Delicate against a woven shawl,
Holding place to say the words,
To shed the tears,
To hold the hands,
To share the hugs,
To build strength,
To move past the monsters.

Safety in pins.
Such a small thing,
But a thing we can do.

©2016 Annette Meserve

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