I am not a person that reads the news every day. Of course, I lightly glance at the headlines and get updated on the current events. But sadly, I find it easier to not dwell on the reality that is playing on the morning news, the radio, or the colorful headlines that flash across our homepages.
I was given the assignment of creating a poem based on a current news article. Typical me, I skipped over pieces regarding war and politics. My attention was drawn to a small title, snuggled below the flashy pictures of the major headlines. I clicked on the link, In Disney’s shadow, homeless families struggle. Everyone loves this magical place and it confused me why families would struggle there. I needed to know more.
As I read the piece, I felt disillusioned. I never associated the Happiest Place on Earth with homelessness. Of course, I see it on our street corners every day, but a person’s mind plays tricks. It covers up the truth and allows us to keep blinders on. As I kept reading, I felt the urge to tell a story of how all things magical are not always what they appear to be.
There is No Magic Left in My Kingdom
Smashed in the backseat, between my sisters,
I dream of magical creatures, princesses and roller coaster rides.
My sisters say I’m silly and that I don’t understand.
I tell them to shut up and ward them off with my small 8 year old stare,
A quiet scolding comes from the front, my head then turns to meet my mother’s gaze.
Mom and Dad whisper, a quiet mummer that I cannot make out.
I know it’s never good when their whispers somehow reduce the hope that once filled their hearts.
My Dad’s smile stopped reaching his eyes a few weeks ago.
This was when I was told we were leaving the only home I’ve ever known.
I was sad, lonely even…until they told me we would live close to the Magic Kingdom.
My magical dreams carry me to our first stop.
A small motel on the side of a road my dad calls U.S 192.
My sisters grumble, I push my way past and unload my small suitcase from the back.
It’s like a vacation I tell them, it’ll be fun.
They don’t believe me, I can see it in the way they avoid my stare.
Four weeks have flown by, as we load back up the car.
I still have not seen the castle that I read about in my books.
I sit in the same spot I sat only a month before, squashed between them, but this time I understand.
Understanding because my sisters no longer make fun of me, they realize I see a glimpse of our reality.
My parents look tired and their smiles are few and far between.
Our new place has a view…of the parking lot that holds buses that take others to the kingdom.
I sit and stare and wonder how I can sneak aboard, just one time is all I need.
Our belongings have piled around, but I make sure my view is not blocked.
I make sure of this because it’s the only hope around.
I continue to draw to keep my young brain busy, as my mama likes to say.
Dad is gone for long hours and never seems to find what he goes out to search for.
Mom cries at night, behind the peeling bathroom door.
I can hear my dad, always whispering…..that we will be ok.
My sisters disappear for long periods at a time and I feel uncertain of tomorrow.
I am scared that there is no longer any magic left here to find, as I sit alone and wait for another move.