“Claire” {Short Story Poem Read by Author}

Standing there in the dim light, cold and alone

With strawberry hair pinned back with a bow

Frantically searching for a face she might know

A woman hears her cries and looks out the window


She gasps in shock and runs down the stairs,

Throws open the door and finds the girl there.

She looks up at the woman with a terrified stare

Pinned to her coat: a note that says, “Claire.”


She brings her inside and holds her near.

She kisses her head and says, “It’s okay, my dear,

Where did you come from? Where is your mom?”

All the while trying to desperately maintain her own calm.


She calls the police and an investigation ensues.

She makes the front page and appears on the news.

The little redhead with those big, sad, baby blues,

Had been left on that porch without a single damn clue.


The woman who found her that cold night at her door,

Adopted the child and gave her their own surname, “Moore.”

Little Claire Moore was raised as if she were one of their own,

With two brothers and a sister who were already grown.


Days turned to weeks and weeks into years.

She did well in school but struggled with her peers.

They name-called and taunted her beautiful red curls.

She was picked on relentlessly by both little boys and girls.


They followed her home calling her names like, “The Orphan.”

They’d spit chewing gum in her hair and trip her just for fun.

She’d run up to her room and cry until her chest ached.

Her adoptive mother could only hold her and tell her it’d be okay.


Claire knew from as far back as she could recall,

That she had been adopted by her mother when she was very small,

But she loved her mother and siblings and even her dad,

Who sometimes did awful things to her when he said she’d been bad.


She graduated high school and moved away for college.

She was deep in her studies when she felt the deep ache for knowledge.

She wanted to know who her real mother could be,

And what could possibly drive a woman to abandon her child so coldly.


She started by searching free resources online.

She found the newspapers which featured her in their headlines.

“Abandoned and Alone,” one headline had read.

Another said, “Her Own Mother Left Her For Dead.”


Imagine, if you will, putting yourself in her shoes.

To see yourself as a photographed child, frightened and confused.

Imagine the sickness that would form deep within your core,

To know you were once the focus of a frenzied media storm.


Yet even with her teary blue eyes and their desperate plea,

No woman nor man stepped up to say, “I’m so sorry; it was me.”

Cowards, she thought, but then again maybe not.

Maybe they did it out of love and were terribly broken and distraught.


Maybe her mother had no money and her father had fled.

Maybe that evening she’d fed little Claire her last piece of bread.

Maybe she wept convulsively, tortured by pain,

Because she was unable to provide for her precious little babe.


Someone had taken the time to write Claire’s name on a note.

Someone had taken the time to pin it onto her little coat.

Someone had pinned her curly red hair back with a bow.

Surely this meant she had been loved, and now she had to know.


One warm July night as she searched on her laptop,

She received a text from her sister that said, “I talked to the cops.”

Claire set her computer aside and text back, “About what?”

“Dad,” she replied, and a moment later, “You know what.”


Three days later Claire turned twenty-two.

Her adoptive father had been outed and people now knew,

Claire‘s story was far sadder and far more torturous, too.

Sickening, disturbing, and evil through-and-through.


On her birthday that year he took his own life,

But before he did so, he murdered his wife.

She had left a note behind which read,

“I asked him to do this, we both deserve to be dead.”


He had taken advantage of a broken little girl,

With big, sad, blue eyes and beautiful red curls.

The woman who had found her that day at the door,

Could live with the suffocating guilt no more.


A decade passed and Claire had married.

They had three beautiful children and a Labrador, Gary.

She spit into a vial and sent it off to a laboratory,

So her DNA could be extracted in hopes of learning her full story.


One day as she pushed her son on a swing,

While her daughters played on a round-yellow-shiny-spinny thing,

She answered her phone after the third ring,

Her sister said, “God, I really hope you’re sitting.”


The DNA results had come back

and they had found a close match

to Claire’s immediate family.

Claire anxiously asked, “What’s the name of the match?”

And her sister replied, “Claire, it’s me.”


“I don’t understand… I don’t understand,” she mumbled repeatedly.

“Who is my mother?” Claire asked with fervor as she slumped against the trunk of a tree.


Her sister could only weep and try to make room in her throat for her words to come out.

“Who is my mother?!” Claire asked again, this time as more of a shout.


“I don’t know, Claire, and I absolutely do not want to tell you what I do.”

“Tell me now,” Claire’s phone shook in her hands, her frustration coming through.

Her sister collected herself and somberly said, “Claire, my father is your father, too.”


Her sister gave a much needed moment for Claire to regain her composure.

Time seemed to stop and all Claire could say was, “Well, so much for getting closure.”


Her sister desperately wished she was there with Claire to stroke her red hair and tell her she wished she knew more.

Claire stared at her kids

and tried to make sense

of these facts she could not ignore.

Her mind both raced and stalled at the very same time, now on the brink of war.

She was furious and confused, befuddled and bemused, and violently shaken to her core.


“Your mother must’ve left you that night at our house because she knew your father lived within.

I can’t say for sure, but I know you’re a Moore; and Claire, she must have had a reason.”


Numb and completely emotionally void Claire asked the first thing that came to her mind,

“Do you think he knew that I was his, too?”

“I don’t know, but if he did, I hope he burns in hell for all of time.”

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