My Little Girl
As two red shoes and a matching plastic wallet slide into my view
As I look up to see a male police officer tackling a teenage girl to the ground
– not rough – just matter of fact
As I step sideways to direct my child into our car
As I observe the scene unfold before of me
As a female officer accuses her of taking the drugs again
As the teenage girl insistently denies her accusation with words that hiss and seethe on the ground
To understand the relationship between the girl and the officer
As I realise both driveways for my exit are blocked by police cars
– one conventionally parked
– the other facing oncoming traffic
As another officer offers an apology for my dilemma
As I respond – I can find another way
As my young daughter, strapped, in the back seat declares – I don’t like that man
As I reply – he’s just doing his job
As the driveways clears and we follow the teenage girl and her entourage back onto the street
When I see you
And you standing at the bus stop
Is this fiasco entertaining?
Are you nervous for your friend?
Are you relieved it is her and not you?
Are you all high?
Why she is the only one in the car?
What power does she have to control the work day of five officers and two government vehicles?
Did she steal?
Or is she your scape goat?
Today’s distraction from your indifferent lives?
I pray – I pray that this time it would be different for the teenaged girl
That there would be a change in her life
A new beginning
That she would know better friends than you
That she would know a mum and a dad who care
And that if this could not be true that she would know someone else who does care
Like an Aunty or a Grandma
And if there is no Aunty or Grandma that somehow, someone who does care would find her
Someone who would believe in her and would know her full potential
Someone who would show her love
And that if you were ever to meet her – you would be the one
The one that would encourage her and inspire her
The one that would tell her she is worthy
The one she would believe
And I pray that these things might not take long to pass
And that I might have a change of heart towards her old friends at the bus stop
I am overwhelmed
I pull over unable to drive though my tears
I look to the back to see my five year old kick off her shoes
And shake the play money out of her
Red plastic wallet
Bio: Demelza wrote this piece after observing the incident in her neighbourhood. She hopes that we can find compassion for all people and endeavours to point out that the teenager in this poem could be someone from our own family.