How's My Little Girl

Just that one line was all they recounted, that she said-
Running into her in the busy shopping area of the city,
Now an older, used-up part; but back then still a well known hub.
Who knew who you might run into there?
And she immediately inquired,
How's my little girl-

From the sound of it- no beating around the bush
No embarrassed, foot tapping silence. A straight-forward lady
She knew I had to be all right;
Being cared for by those sweetly moralistic Caucasians
One hundred percent pure, farm-raised, depression stiffened
Church of Christ reared entrepreneurs:
No musical instruments at their church, only voices raised in singing.
My Dad even ran for office, as befitted a conscientious Republican.
They ran their own business fairly and responsibly.
They must have represented hope, to my birth mother.
Hope for a better life, not for her, but for me.
How's my little girl-

And a man working nearby told them how to get a baby:
If things didn't work out; if your wife couldn't conceive or carry to term
You could do what he and his wife did: use the lawyer.
In fact, a woman carried her own baby to give it to them at the birth-
My sibling. The one just before me.
And apparently another one after me too.
Fecundity's poster child was my mother, it seems.
Adopting all those babies out, one after another.
How's my little girl-

What more resume was required? The lawyer presided;
The exchange was made and I had a home
Much more stable, financially; and no pathological ex-husband
Always lurking about dangerously, a lion on the prowl
Thirsting to kill the off spring of other paternity.
No other mouths competing for the food I would receive.
I had built up this fantasy of the god's stepping in to salvage
To save me from pernicious poverty and undeserved violence
As if I were something worthy of special attention, or a miracle:
But it was just some lunchtime gossip, and a lawyer,
Who hooked her up with them.
How's my little girl-

I knew she had been considered pretty;
That was made plain after I grew up.
If you were nice to her, they insinuated;
She'd go home with you, no question.
And more children were always being manufactured:
She was a mother lode of fertility, so I'd best beware too!
I picked up between the lines. First marriage; then babies,
My mother reminded continuously, during childhood,
Mindful of my genetic inheritance.
They never noticed how I pricked up my ears
At each new tidbit of information; how it rebounded
For years, in the vacuum of non-information where I fermented.
Doubtless she's long dead by now. But I think I did matter to her;
She obviously did wonder about me
Hoped that I was thriving, that I was happy.
How's my little girl-

If she ever prayed, to god; to anything at all-
The Great Spirit? Maybe she thought of me then.
It was some small evidence, almost satisfaction
It even made up in part for the pain of finding out
When I was yet very young and it made no sense then;
She didn't want me. My own mother gave me away.
I had to go be by myself to take it in, contemplate it:
Turn it over and over in my child's mind, trying to touch it.
It echoed; kept echoing in that vacuum which grew longer, wider
Spiralling outward till it swallowed whole, my small island universe.
I felt myself alienated; inferiority bloomed with my new secret.
Everyone else looked like their relatives.
I was so different: too dark, too tanned, too native.
How's my little girl-

The message in a bottle came down, passed to me at last
Through the people who loved me best and longest,
From she who first loved and carried me:
Over the cavernous valleys of time and space, it came
To save, reclaim me. And now it comes to me
Since I've been twenty or thirty different people at least
During my life so far; and perhaps now capable of seeing
More than that child could; that tanned tomboy of the outdoors,
With the thick mop of raven hair;
The one who always loved to write and create with words.
Who can say it was not a miracle after all?
To this day, I can still hear the most beautiful echo:
How's my little girl-

by Patti Masterman

Comments (1)

Just happened to run into this very powerful writing. I accept it for what it is intented to be Though there are many feelings that come roiling to the surface. I would like to comment on this further, but some restraints may be in better order............ So.......... Thank You For Sharing......It really is so important to share something so special as this.... Touch's the deep parts of us all..........Jim