Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Living Token

The little girl turned her face away,
She thought that she might cry.
She’d been taught to tell the truth
And never, ever tell a lie.

She stood there with her neighbor,
Golden curls, framing her thin face.
Her plaid, blue dress matched her skittish eyes,
As she listened, with silence and grace.

The woman continued to question,
The scab above her brow,
And wondered how in the world
It had formed… there, somehow.

The child looked down at her shiny, black shoes,
With white anklets, trimmed with lace,
And wondered how to answer this woman,
While looking, directly, at her face.

Again, the child turned her face away,
She thought that she might cry.
She was told not to tell the neighbor the truth
And she did not know why.

She remembered the day, a week before,
When her beloved dog had bit her.
While trying to remove an object,
From his clenched jowls, he nipped her.

She knew she wanted to tell the truth,
In a very, desperate way,
But she had been told to tell a lie
And to say it… just this way:

“I fell from the porch
And that is why
I have a scab
Above my eye.”

The neighbor looked closer,
With a hand on her hip.
She did not believe it,
Not one little bit.

She said, “I don’t think so.
That cannot be true!
You’d actually look different,
Much more black and blue!”

The little girl cringed,
When she heard the words said.
She hated lying for others
And wished she were dead.

As the years passed on by, she faced many dilemmas
That caused double-binds and confusion.
Sometimes she moved on and forgot what was done,
And, sometimes, she remained in delusion.

The child never knew whom she could trust,
Her feelings of safety were broken.
Love, truth, and goodness became just a dream
And, like she, just a throw-away token.

Precious Linda, c. 2013
This was written as “Day 2” of the National Poetry Writing Month – 2013, with the prompt of “a poem that tells a lie.”


  1. Linda, I'm amazed at how good it is considering how little time you had.

  2. On April 3, 2013, I wrote:

    Thanks, Dale! It did take quite a bit of work and I wanted to publish it before midnight!