A few days before leaving Vietnam

(By then I’d lost track of time

It seemed to both stand still

and move at lightning speed

all at once)


With the sun sleepily rising

I finished brushing my teeth

Bare feet comfortably resting

on the earth


I looked in the mirror

Feeling safe with mountains hugging behind me

And for a moment

Out of seemingly nowhere

I felt a jolt of electricity move through my body.


But it wasn’t sharp, or harsh.

It was warm and lovely, glowing


Like being struck by the sun

Turning every molecule in my body into fire

A fire that’s powerful

A fire that’s radiant

A fire that’s steady


And as my flames touched the sky

I saw a little girl in the mirror


With hip-length hair

And scrawny legs

She scanned over me


My eyes followed hers

As she moved

From my toes

To my hips

To my hands

To my nose

She made her way up my body


She paused for a moment

Staring at my collar bone

And touched her own hair

Held it long in her hands

Examining the beautiful brown shine


She smiled at it halfheartedly


Finally she looks up

And our eyes meet

Hers are big and round

Green mixed with gold


She stared at me

And keeping our gaze

She dropped the soft brown strands

And smiled

Revealing a gaping space between her two front teeth


Her smile was warm, pure


Like a weight had been lifted

Letting the edges of her lips rise with ease

Like a bubble floating to the surface


What can rise

Might just fly


And at that moment

I realized

I was exactly who that little girl wanted to see

I realized

I am exactly who that little girl needed


It took going to the other side of the world

To see that child smile


That little girl

Was me

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