In polite conversation you would
call her waifish,
emaciated could be considered rude
or judgemental, too honest.
She was thirty-two pounds and ten years old
when she starved to death.
The father pleads guilty to avoid the death penalty,
the mother is still to stand trial.
What does it take for the heart of a parent
to snap like a dead, dry twig underfoot?
How large of a whole is required
to empty a soul?
What must they have seen when they
looked upon their child,
thin and weak and frail?
Were they sated while she curled
around the painful emptiness of her stomach?
What sound filled their ears when
the confused cries of a hungry child?
Will they ever burn enough to atone
for the unfathomable?