I still remember the look
Of panic on her face when
Her parent’s new 1978 Polaroid
Camera flew out of her hands,
Sinking out of sight into the
Mirky Southern California ocean.
She was a grown up 5th grader
Now, and trusted to care for this
New 1978 Polaroid camera
Her parents were so proud
To have purchased and lend
To their daughter so she could
Capture memories of her first
Whale watching expedition.
She was beside herself with horror,
Which was to be expected~except
She could not be consoled~not
When it happened, not an hour
Later, not when the boat returned
To the dock hours later~this was
A different kind of terror~and
My 5th grade mind understood.
I knew what awaited her
As the yellow school bus rolled
From I-710 to US 101 toward
Her punishment~I had been there~
Would be there again over and over~
No, this was no ordinary horrified
5th grader that had lost
Her parents new 1978 Polaroid
Camera~This was child abuse
Waiting to happen~that had happened~
That would happen tonight.
No adult caught the signs~
No mandated reporter saw the warnings~
She was all alone, headed home to
Face monsters~the story of my life.