Although this has not been my own personal experience, it so easily could have been. And so I write this poem to honour the women, who at some point in their lives stopped seeing the world in color.
The Color of A Million Midnights
Little girl lost. I see your struggle. I feel your pain.
Beyond the darkness of a million midnights, I hear you and you matter
She’s been alive for 2000 night falls.
Wide eyed wonderful little girl. I see you
Borrowed promises, unapologetic confidence and a belly full of laughter. I hear you
A beautiful naivety exists within her heart. In her little body contains the eternal ocean of endless possibility. Of reliable, relentless currents and tides.
Welcoming waves of unconditional love as she dances the shoreline of her lifespan
She is brand new shiny bike proud
Shame is not the watchman standing guard of her gate to worthiness
For she is love. And she is safe. And she is the sum total of unconditional forevers. Because for now, even though she doesn’t know why, she knows she is worthy… and that she matters.
She is 5 years old and her favorite color is purple
Every night she would climb up to her window and look out to a sky of limitless potential. Her head held high for she knew no other way to carry herself – other than with pride. The fullness of the moon, like a pregnant belly of hope carrying with it a future so bright, the stars pale in comparison.
And in the light of day, resides an unwritten promise that the sun rises and shines just for her. And though she doesn’t know it yet, it would be the last setting sun, pregnant moon and scattered diamond sky that cradled her future and held tomorrow’s hope
Little girl lost. I see your struggle. Little girl lost. I see you and feel your pain. Beyond the darkness of a million midnights, I hear you and you matter
She said the betrayal was worse than the pain. And her tears fell like rain
Into an open hand casket on the day she buried her childhood
Every No – Every please – Every bone shattering scream – Every muffled cry – Every stop you’re hurting me, landed on deaf ears. But not hers. Her ears remained wide open and welcomed every bad name. Every fire breathing threat – Every no one will ever believe you anyway but if you do tell, I will kill you little girl.
She lay broken and bled a river of red into that dirt road behind her grandfather’s farm.
Staring up at a million midnights, her moon had fallen from the sky. She picked herself up. She dusted herself off and she said aloud, ‘You don’t need to kill me. I’m already dead.’
She was nine years old and her favorite color was purple
2000 suns have risen and set in her empty sky childhood. Same blue eyes lookin’ but she hasn’t the ability to see. Because her girlhood broke in a hundred different ways by five different men. Three who were kin…by the time she was ten.
And after five years of black skies she passes the time pushin’ harm up her arm.
Her hero is heroin. Her highs blind her eyes – numbing her heart to the pain as a million midnights rush through her veins. That once held high head slumps back and falls forward – chin to chest. She feels nothing. You don’t need to kill her. She’s already dead
And not that she kept count but from 12 years old, at a guess she lay down 400 different times for 400 different men. Each encounter killing her in 400 different ways
But helping her forget the five different men; her grandfather. Her uncle. Her cousin. His friends
She is fifteen years old and in a world of grey her favorite color became the shade of a million midnights
30 years old, abandoned by everyone who once loved that wide eyed wonderful little girl. Whose future burned bright and whose hopes and dreams were once held by the moon. The same moon who pulled tides and the same girl who carried within her tiny frame the eternal ocean of endless possibility.
That same little girl who danced like no one was watching now sits – a shadow of her former self, upon the shores of her lifespan with 1300 Sundays of unanswered prayers behind her. But more hopeless than the unanswered are the unspoken that will forever remain stuck in her throat. Because one reaches a point in one’s lifetime where faith and hope die if you haven’t the help needed to keep them alive
If she could turn back the hands of time or reach back for the hands reaching for hers, maybe she would still be ok. But instead of help she had heroin. Instead of hope she had hell. Instead of ‘I believe you’ she had ‘you must have done something to provoke him’. Instead of worthy. She had shame. And instead of love she will forever have judgement.
40 years old and her favorite color is the shade of a million midnights
If there was a way she could reach for a different brush to paint the life she once saw in her dreams, don’t you think she would? If she hadn’t been robbed of her ability to see the world in color, don’t you think upon her blank canvas, with a broken brush she would dip the tip in to the deepest of purple and create yesterday’s masterpiece and title it:
‘What Could Have Been Had He Let Me Be Me’
50 years old in search of her soul. Because beyond the darkness of a million midnights, her favorite color will always be purple and her now dull eyes; once brighter than the stars- will always be blue – and hold the sparkle of a distant memory – back when she knew love and was love and still believed herself to be the sum total of unconditional forevers.
If choice was truly a luxury the world had gifted her, don’t you think she’d have chosen differently? 50 years old with 2,600 Sundays of unanswered prayers behind her.
And 26,000 different men to help her forget the five men she couldn’t get from her head. No matter how high or how hard she tried. The stars stopped holding her future the moment her grandfather. Her uncle. Her cousin. His friends – took without asking. Her parents never bothered asking and so the eternal message imprinting her soul that no amount of anything could mend was unanimously this; You don’t matter. Forever broken was the backbone of a little girl’s dream
A million midnights of moonless skies to claim the brightly burning star she once was
And the sad reality of this Unhappily Ever After: it could have been prevented
Had somebody told her all those years before when her head was still high, when she was her own watchman. When she was still love in the sum total of unconditional forevers
And the unsung hymn she was longing to hear that never played to her welcoming ear;
Little girl lost. I see you beyond the darkness of a million midnights. I feel your pain. I hear you and you matter and you are worthy of love. The moon still holds for you a million IOUs. The sun still rises and shines just for you. You still have every reason on earth to be brand new shiny bike proud and your favorite color can forever be purple.