(Still) Optimistic

The abandoned streets were always safer
than any home she had ever known; it always
took her back when everyone else turned
their backs on her; drugs and prostitution
never judged her; even they welcomed her back
with open arms whenever she relapsed.

She grew up in the broken foster care system,
jumping from one loving family to the next,
there’s never been a place for her to rest
her head, frequently on the move, too old
for adoption, most of the families mistreated
her and tossed her around like a rag doll,
she’s been through hell, but she’s alive
to tell her story (and it’s not the end).

18 years old—young and fresh off the press—
she’s been rejected, neglected, and abused;
experiencing more difficulties than most people
will ever journey through in a lifetime; she remains
optimistic though she’s carrying around wounds
so deep and infected; it hurts to breathe.