On the news, we thanked the FBI,
local and state police, volunteers, everyone
who helped us bring our daughter home.
We asked for privacy while she recovered
but were sure she wouldn’t need counseling,
just a nightlight, new clothes, patience
when she acted out. She came home
with bloody socks and no underwear.
She has lice and open sores, wrecks the toys
we bought every birthday, Christmas
she was gone. At night we lock her door
so she won’t hurt the baby, look for the gun
she thinks we have. If we say no she bites,
goes for our eyes with pencils and plastic
knives. Every day we pray, try to remember
she’s just a child, a little girl who survived
a terrible ordeal. She’s a brat, an animal,
an eight-year-old demon we don’t deserve.
Our nightmare isn’t over. What they found
isn’t yet—might never be—our daughter.