“Jesus Loves Me” by Kris McHaddad


The day my father told me I was bad,
he stopped taking pictures of me.
I knew that not even Jesus
in all of his goodness
could save me.

For years, each night
I prayed to god,
each night I dreamed
my father raised his knife
against me.

He also taught my brothers,
to walk looking down,
but they searched for treasure:
crumpled dollar bills,
broken watches,
empty bottles we would redeem
at the grocery store
for a nickel.

I took each step
gingerly, watching
for the ground to come up
and meet me. I was looking
for salvation, head bowed,
trying to lay up
my treasures in heaven,
trying to believe
in my feet.

Each Sunday,
I watched the other girls
white shoes
running, heads held high,
feet flying out
behind them,
trusting Jesus
to catch them
if they should fall.



Kris McHaddad is a first grade teacher in the Leona Valley whose poetry has been published widely.