For Zelda


Esmé comes down the stairs

with angry tears streaking

unwanted understanding down her Year 5 face.

This is death like she’s never known

till now:

Zelda’s death.

It opens a window, far too soon,

into a world where girls are killed

by human hands –

even small, smart six year olds

who fought against the odds

and should have won.


I take the book and read the page.

Her solemn face looks on.


Oh no! My heart breaks.


This grief is fierce and harsh –

the cruel kind that cuts through childhood,

leaving careless, jagged scars.


I hold her tight and let her cry-

for Zelda, whose story ends right here.

And for all those shadows she now sees

that stalk the night and darken days –

shadows so real that wardrobe beasts

and sharp-toothed wolves of fantasy

seem, side-by-side, like easy dreams.


Be brave Esmé!

For if there’s other girls like you

who feel injustice deep inside,

have fire blazing in their eyes

and use their hearts and souls to fight,

then maybe there is half a chance

we might just be alright.

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