The Gift

She was gifted / like a piece of clothing

a favor /  worn and tossed

a debt paid / mended

by caregivers without love / raised and lowered

to fulfill an obligation/ a hemline, inconsequential,

no more dreaming / she existed and cried for her childhood gone

life without meaning/ her tears fell to the ground

smothered joy /  and vanished


This is a cleave poem in response to the Secret Keeper’s Weekly Writing Prompt #42,

using these words: Meaning/Raise/Cry/Dream/Ground

I was inspired , if that is the word, by this recent story. And by all of the women and children throughout time who have been kidnapped, enslaved, trafficked, considered spoils of war, or “gifted” to others.




22 thoughts on “The Gift

  1. becoming the master of the cleave 🙂 powerfully captures the poignant repulsion such an act by others (especially those who more than anyone else expected to protect the child).

  2. Such a loss of childhood and fills me with sorrow. Your writing cuts to the “heart of Life,” in such a powerful way, Merril.
    I read a book I liked called, “The House Girl,” by Tara Conklin which captured a slave girl’s story who was taken from the slave quarters of the property to live in the main house. Painting and art are my favorite piece of her story, along with a modern young attorney seeking someone to be her client for the Reparation Act. How the past and present are woven made it a great historical fictional story.

  3. Well said…sad but real, sometimes even out of the context of slavery children are unloved…that’s how I read the poem until you offered your starting context.

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