She is a Christmas package propped in front of the Christmas tree,
too young to know she will never believe in anything this much again.
Before the year is over, the dress that makes her look like a Christmas angel
will tighten along with her innocent mouth.
Her eyes brimming with hope will harden with suspicion.
Her fleshy fingers clasped in expectancy will loosen
and trust will slip through the opens spaces
like coins in a slot machine that keeps on taking.
Her knees, chubby and tender will toughen
with unanswered prayers and so will her heart.
All that is good will end before the photo is even developed.
Years later after love has transformed her
the photo will remind her that what she wants most is still missing -
to believe in anything that much again.
Valerie Schermerhorn has been in love with poetry since hearing her first Dylan song at the age of 14. Although a long way from 14 she has only started playing with poetry herself in the last seven years. She has one published chap book entitled "Shared Dreams of Drowning".