I point to the sky. There, I say, there
I turn the head of the youngest child,
lift her chin to the right angle.
She stares up into night,
too young to find the pattern,
but believing me.
Believes a kiss takes away pain,
a cookie makes it better,
that Santa rewards good girls,
believes she's always a princess
in clear plastic high heeled shoes, pink tulle tutu.
I say these things
to protect her from the world,
keep her sealed in a gift box,
her innocence preserved. She leans
into darkness, into a world of compromise
where children are soldiers and small hands
weave carpets for export
and eager to see for herself
she leans away from me, believes
I've pointed her in the right direction,
believes the Big Dipper is where I say it is
in a world of disappearing salmon where
even the sun will one day die.