Falling in the Dark - Rose Meier (2014)

I love her because she's strong.

She doesn't realize that I see her,

that I watch as her bright smile

slips away in the quiet moments.

I know that she feels beaten

and bloodied

by the simple questions.

The “how are you”s and the

“what did you do this weekend”s

are hurled her way like darts to dodge,

and I watch as they fly by

too close for her comfort.

Somehow, though,

she turns the dodging into dancing,

and her smile is always fixed firmly on

when I cross her path.


I love her because she treads lightly on the earth.

 Her footsteps in the halls are quiet,

leaving no trail, no trace

of the carnage in her head and in her heart

like I thought they would, gathering all around her

like puddles of rain.

The footsteps she leaves in peoples' minds are

even softer,

and small like a sparrow's;

only a fleeting impression of the girl can be seen

before the wind erases her prints,

too fast for anyone to look deeper

and realize they were in the presence of a warrior.


I love her because she listens.

She sees friends trip

and fall

and lends them a shoulder,

she kisses souls and makes them better again,

a makeshift mother among crowds of children

with backyard wounds.

She soaks up others' hurt like a sponge

until she's filled up, too full, overflowing,

but it's her version of a success.

She hears their cries for help

and saves another person from pain.

The only thing she can't seem to hear is the sound of my heart

breaking as I watch her fight every day,

her own soul heavy, to keep her head high.


I love her because she is silent.

She struggles without a sound.

A warrior, yes, but mute in her battles.

She'll never tell what's wrong, never hint,

 but her pain will leak out in other ways,

ways like tiny beads of blood

pooling out of scratchs in her pale skin.

Even those she keeps silent, hidden,

and what should be an alarm bell to the world

that she is quietly falling apart

is nothing more than a flash of scabs

and a quick pull of the sleeve,

then gone.


Above all, though, I love her for the light she brings.

She does all of it for all the world:

her strength, her fragile steps,

her listening, her silence.

She does it so that

when a little boy or little girl

asks her where all her scratches came from,

she can smile that smile of hers

like sunshine between clouds

and say,

“I fell in the dark.”