Soft Girl

My mother told me once
you should not cry at things out of your control

in the tsunami-lit backwash of the
television, children grasped,
I bubbled and overflowed, and

she held my hand tight and said that I cared too much
in a voice that made
the cavities in my teeth tighten

the familiar gulp and itch
of tears unshed –
How can you care too much?

Years later, when the
faces of starving children had worn thin and I was re-visiting 9/11

(tissues, free in the museum
failing to keep it in
Americans, your pain is my pain)
I felt her gentle reprimand –

Compassion, that’s your curse
and that is what will make the world too hard to bear. Soft as clarts,

soft as shite.
My sister is as tough as old boots
I am, in comparison, the crybaby

feeling fine but for the fists
of tragedy. Each disaster

each plane crash, each
bloated white body I imagine in the sea –

How can you care too much? My tender, soft girl
who cries in the car at 74,75

My tender, soft girl
who wanted to burn a candle for
every fallout going, my tender

soft as shite girl who
apportions her heart with a carving knife.

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About fiercemissc

Twenty-something Geordie girl living and working in Hong Kong. Young, free and single and making the most of it.
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