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photograph of abuela attached to poem
Photograph by Monique Rardin Richardson

A Child's Prayer

by Monique Rardin Richardson

I like the way the light of the

stove chases the darkness away

             Mama can I stay?


How grandma has finger clippers

in the drawer by the television

and she files and trims mine, so they

aren’t sharp like yours

                          Mama can I stay?


The Chilean game show host in the

Zenith console speaks Spanish

and makes grandpa smile and laugh

                                            Mama can I stay?


It's fun keeping an eye on his cigarette,

making sure when he tips over asleep and the ashes

fall, that I  slowly slide it from his finger tips

                                                            Mama can I stay?


Crunchy oatmeal cookies are always on the counter,

next to the cow cookie jar and frosted flakes.

                                                                              Mama can I stay?



Abuela lets me cuddle with her before I go to sleep

                                                                                             Mama, please,

                                                                                                                    can I stay?

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