For The Sake of a Smile
She looks outside her window just to see what she can see.
Snowflakes slowly falling to the cold and bare concrete.
Her mother should be home soon from her job down at the clinic.
With a big bag of groceries, how she loved to see what was in it.
In school today she learned of President Lincoln and the great civil war.
She learned all about slavery and the freedom that the soldiers died for.
But her mother merely scoffs at the notion of being free.
"Free me from these pay nothing jobs, these drug infested slums, the hate and bigotry!"
She left to turn on the television in the living room down the hall.
She loves to watch cartoons and dream of the toys in the commercials,
she wishes she could have them all.
Thoughts of Christmas soon arriving brings a pretty little smile.
A brand new Barbie doll with her own pink Corvette has her dreaming all the while.
A knock comes to the door to awake her from her dreams.
She opens it up and hollers out "mama,
daddies here" with an ear piercing scream.
He looks down and say's, "hi babe, how you been?" as he walks through the door.
" I came to talk to your mama, so go on back to doin what you was doin before."
Her mother walks in and yells, "what the hell you come here for?"
"I told you never to show your face around here", as she points her finger at the door.
But he simply ignores her and walks into another room.
Her mother quickly follows, leaving her alone with a deep sense of impending doom.
She can hear the screaming and cursing, in a room not so far away.
She hears the banging, breaking, and hitting as her mother tries to keep the man at bay.
In a few eternal minutes he finally walks out the door.
Brandishing a belligerent smile he
didn't have before.
She finds her mother on the floor sadly sobbing and crying.
Speaking of life's worthlessness, and what's the use in trying?
"He's taken all our money with Christmas oh so near."
"He's taken all our money for the drugs he holds most dear."
Bad memories are carved into the mind like a chisel carves a stone.
But little girls seem to have a way of making a happy home.
It's easy to forget your troubles when your world is filled with love.
With those pondering eyes, and that sensitive smile that you can never quite get your fill of.
Just a week before Christmas they got a tiny little tree.
Sitting on an old end table, just as majestic as it could be.
But mamas heart was filled with sadness, and her mind with disbelief.
Not a single solitary present could be found underneath.
Through too many years and too many tears her mother has stood alone.
But she has the strength to fight for what is right, for the love she has at home.
So she works both night and day, letting nothing stand in her way,
just for the sake of her daughters pretty smile.
Though when all is said and done, she knows the war is never won,
at least they can have some happiness for a little while.
She awakens bright and early to a sunny Christmas day.
She carefully wraps her present to her mother that she herself has made.
She runs into the living room to place it under the tree.
When she sees what's already there, her heart fills up with glee.
"Mama, mama,: she cries. I saw it in the Christmas tree lights."
"There's a big present under the tree. Can I open it up? alright?"
Her mother opens weary eyes with a weak and tattered smile.
"Just a minute babe. I'll be there in a little while."
So she runs into her mothers room, jumping up and down and running all around,
simply overflowing with excitement and joy.
Her mother now can feel it too, gone are all thoughts of feeling blue,
or of being tired anymore.
So she hurries up and gets herself dressed,
feeling really very blessed to have this excitable, frolicking bundle of joy to love.
She wishes this day would never end, that each and every morning it would begin again,
for of these happy, joyous times, there never are enough.
The little girl rushes into the living room and reaches under the tree.
And gives her mother her homemade
present just as happy as she can be.
Then she gently reaches in and takes her own present removing the wrapping paper,
filled with anticipations ecstasy.
When she sees what is inside, her eyes grow big and wide.
It's a brand new Barbie doll with a beautiful pink Corvette just as shiny as can be.
Michael R. Roth