Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Prompt: Take a random lyric and write the backstory
Dedicated to my brother Steven Allen Runeborg

She was born without a brain if I might be so unkind, her skull contained liquids and a few solids of course or she’d not have taken a single breath. But once while holding her in infancy, my hand stretched to accommodate her entire head to support her weak neck, I caught a glimpse of my fingers in shadow, a bright light making her flesh and bone near transparent. It was then I realized the completeness of her tragedy and the breadth of life’s random injustice.

Prudence, we called her, after her grandmother. The doctors said she’d not live long, that in her condition she’d likely not last more than a few months before her organs shut down and she simply and quietly passed on. But that was 15 years ago now, and though she’s not grown but two feet and a few dozen pounds since then, she’s every bit as alive as she was at the moment she slipped from her mother’s womb. And every bit as vacant.

I whisper to her, I call her Pru mostly as Prudence seems so stodgy; and because once her namesake died it became harder for me to not see my mother’s heart in my daughter’s eyes. She cries a lot, it’s how she speaks I suppose, it’s how she reminds me I’m not living up to her expectations. Her mother couldn’t cope with the strain, the crying drove her from our house. And it might have done the same to me if not for my trying everything including creating songs for my little girl and croaking out the words in my horrible voice, as softly and soothingly as I am able.

This song always gets her to coo, to at least stare at me and stop howling her disappointment with life as it is. Maybe it gets her to dream along with me, of the possibilities, of what might have been if only.

Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play.
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day.
The sun is up, the sky is blue.
It’s beautiful and so are you.
Dear Prudence won’t you come out to play?
Dear Prudence open up your eyes.
Dear Prudence see the sunny skies.
The wind is low the birds will sing
That you are part of everything.
Dear Prudence won’t you open up your eyes?
Look around round
Look around round round
Look around.
Dear Prudence let me see you smile.
Dear Prudence like a little child.
The clouds will be a daisy chain.
So let me see you smile again.
Dear Prudence won’t you let me see you smile?

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