in passing (second time)
so secretly vulnerable,
you child, 
the restless, intense little girl 
with the ash hair and steel eyes, 
who still makes strong showing
in her silent fight with mid-life;
perennial grace, 
draped in your soft-fitting white: 
the only caress 
you allow of yourself.
and if someone held you,
I think you would shatter
to sharp gleaming slivers
before you would fold in their arms
and when we passed
I averted my eyes,
in case you'd read in them
the pain of what I just said.
Jon Bohrn (1999)



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in passing