Pray for the Children
By Ina Hughes
We pray for the children, who sneak Popsicles before supper,
Who erase holes in their math textbooks,
Who can never find their shoes,
And we pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
Who canâ€™t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
Who never â€œcounted potatoesâ€,
Who never go to the circus,
And who live in an X-rated world
We pray for the children, who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
And we pray for those who never get dessert,
Who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
Who watch their parents watch them die,
Who canâ€™t find any bread to steal,
Who donâ€™t have any rooms to clean up,
Whose pictures arenâ€™t on anybodyâ€™s dresser,
Whose monsters are real.
We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
Who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
Who like ghost stories,
Who shove dirty clothes under the bed,
Who never rinse out the tub,
Who get visits from the Tooth Fairy,
Who donâ€™t like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
Who squirm in church and scream into the phone,
Whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.
And we pray for the children whose nightmares come in the daytime,
Who will eat anything,
Who have never seen a dentist,
Who arenâ€™t spoiled by anybody,
Who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
Who live and move but have no being.
We pray for the children who want to be carried and for those who must,
Who we never give up on and for those who donâ€™t get a second chance.
For those we smother andâ€¦
For those who will grab the hand of anyone kind enough to offer it.