What is a Worry to a Child?

what is a worry to a child

when i was a child
my mother gave me worry dolls bought for 50 cents
but made halfway around the world
in guatemala

and i knew that someone
in guatemala
also stared at skies meant for prayers
and instead wished
to be switched
with almost anyone else

just wished
way harder
than a praying person could pray
wished to the possibility of god
wished to whatever magic fairy existed
wished to ancient connect-the-dots of stars
wished to an astronomical phenomenon
wished to anyone who had power
over this spark of life

(i admit
that my greatest anger
is this lack of consent
for my existence)

when i was a child
my mother reminds me
that i was exceptionally
nervous

when i was a child
i remember the fear
of dark, of night, of things i witnessed,
of things that crawled, of things that crept,
of things that – when cast in streetlight
or moonlight – devised shadows
that could kill

when i was a child
it began as a worry doll
tiny in my hand

it grew with me
as my worries grew
it grew with me
until we were the same height

i would sit there staring out at the bus stop
six floors down and across the street
waiting for my mother to disembark
and i would clock her every move
to the doorway, to the sound of the elevator,
to the sound of her sneakers squeaking
on marble floors in the hall,
to the sound of keys in the door,
to the sound of her heavy sighs,
to the sound of her dropping bags,
to the sound of her slamming cabinets,
to the sound of her turning on shows,
to the sound of her shutting down.

when i was a child
my mother gave me her worries,
and i carry them as i would
her ashes in an urn
around my neck
and i carry them into my future
and i carry them beyond the grave
and i carry them
halfway across the world
to the upturned hopeful wishing praying face
of the worrier and her worry dolls