Farewell, little girl. A poem.

Raramuri girls, Cerocahaui, Copper Canyon

Indigenous Raramuri girls, at a boarding school Cerocahui, close to the Urique Canyon. I was so hestitant to visit, perferring to give a donation instead. When Christina my guide looked at me with pleading eyes, I decided to accompany her, and was really glad I did in the end. With permission of the teachers, I got to better understand how these little ones are getting a much fairer shot at a very good education, which will hopefully take them over to high school. Many Raramuri girls marry from around age 15 already. I wrote this just after we visited the school, and a few families in various parts of the neighbouring territories. 

Farewell, little girl.
You fizzled with smiles
like soda served
by an eager hand.
Watch me race, watch me play.
Give me your phone.
I can swipe right, I can take a photograph.
And you did. And we laughed. And you more.

Then you ran away,
clinging to colour,
to the sound of multiplication tables,
your shy teacher in the beige habit.
When I turn, a last goodbye,
you are gone.
Rubber sandals snake up your ankles,
over the plinths and ragged cliffs
plummet to the centre of the earth.
But you don’t fall, your journey is ascent,
along the hidden curves
cut clean in the Sierre Madre.
To your mother,
she is waiting.

Speak to her the words you’ve learned.
Don’t miss your pink Barbie bed spread,
your friends from other villages,
Auntie Martha’s pots of food.
Don’t think about them now.
Fifteen years old.

The baby needs new sandals.
You have deft weaver’s hands, they know.
They’ve seen your mother make them,
many times.

little girl.

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