Writing Prompt: Shelf

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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Little eight year old girls make soccer balls in Pakistan; fingers roughened by sturdy leather, needles and thick thread. Bottoms hover just above dirt paved streets as they squat to work under the noon’s blazing sun hanging from a low sky. Bodies covered head to toe to respect the social order. No one cares that she is hot and only eight. Grown men still have hungry eyes, the soccer balls must be done in time for worldwide entertainment, and $3 per day is needed to buy a morsel to eat. Some days, it might only be $1. It’s better than nothing. Better than starvation and maybe death.

I place my heart on a shelf to relieve the pain of what I see. I won’t let it beat inside my chest because it might destroy me. Or I may tear it out and thrust it like a cannon ball upon those responsible for innocence lost.

Instead, I leave it there, upon the shelf, gathering dust and tears. The tears were meant for me. But the dust belongs to the shelf and the shadows.

My heart waits for me there, on the highest shelf, out of reach. I leave it there, so the pain cannot reach me where I need to hide.

© zaji, 2016