Reflections of a Child (Tribute to Zara)

Uploaded 18 Feb 2010 — 4 favorites
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© JamesHarmon McQuilkin
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Photo Info
UploadedFebruary 18, 2010
TakenFebruary 15, 2010
Exposure1/20 sec at f/11
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length71.5 mm
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Q: Story of the week

A: Do you know?

Photo license: © All rights reserved

I dedicate this to Zara Malani-lin Abdur. I hope she returns safe; however, if they find her near the Driscoll Bridge--she still won't be there.
I was working in a Paterson, NJ school in 2000, when I heard this news:

"Police found the body of a 16-month-old boy in the Passaic River yesterday, 21/2 miles from the spot authorities say his mother threw him in the water when she couldn't find a babysitter." (

This is an awful replay.
Like most of you, with children in your life one way or another, when I hear of tragic news related to children I immediately think of my daughter. I wrote this for her in 1985 on her 2nd birthday--while reflecting on the memory of being at her birth.

Numb and cold still motionless. You reach out quick, I almost miss. Mirrorless I see myself.
A frightened man who seldom speaks--and hears when can. Eyes opened wide from the very start.
To touch my soul, and melt my heart. Breath taken way, sure not to fall. Stood looking back, a man in awe. My Father knows, my life of sin. What others have taken, now this one begins.
Here she lies so quiet and still. She'll quickly grow, into lace and frill. Yet...what wrongs you do,
so soon forgotten. Especially, the things so rotten. Your tantrumed-ways, with harshly said "No's!" My anger will dissipate, from where it grows. I love you so my child, my life. So precious few, will know our strife. A moment's time is all I need. To admire the flower, from whence the seed.

JamesHarmon McQuilkin

C 1985

In the She (Trail of Tears) photo essay.

7 responses

  • Anne Worner

    Anne Worner (Deleted) gave props (18 Feb 2010):

    James, this has so touched me. The image and your words. Beautiful. Tender, special.

  • Kevin Ellis

    Kevin Ellis gave props (18 Feb 2010):

    Your words so match your photo, beautiful

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham (Deleted) gave props (19 Feb 2010):

    I will never be able to understand how anyone can hurt a precious child. Your poem is so beautiful and really moved me.

  • Cindy Mikulski

    Cindy Mikulski gave props (21 Feb 2010):

    wow James, I'd say a complete departure from your usual, this is "deep" and absolutely wonderful, what a great gift you have with words. I hope you pratice this on a regular basis. Besides your wonderful homerous side your tender side is beautiful. Keep it coming buddy, I decided I liked you a long time ago. _C

  • Christopher J Chalk

    Christopher J Chalk gave props (25 Feb 2010):

    What a lovely tribute and beautiful image James!

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (28 May 2011):


  • Bailey Cooper

    Bailey Cooper gave props (16 Jan 2013):

    There is so much that plays into the 'journey'. Always unique, joyful and sad. Imbedded for eternity.

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