The Girl in the Window

The Girl in the Window is based on a horrible true story that happened in Plant City Florida. HERE is the news story from the St. Petersburg Times. Photo by Melissa Little.

Nine year old Dani, living a squalid life of mental and emotional impoverishment, had no hope, no champions, and no future, until she was rescued by some caring people.

Now, I am not usually one easily snagged by the pathos reporting of the Sunday supplement style, but this story literally gripped me by the soul and shook me like a dog with a stuffed teddy.

I found myself a teenager once more, traveling on the road with my mother, a Children's Services caseworker, seeing firsthand just what an uncaring parent can visit upon a child, and how much of an effect it can have on them.

For further explanation of my personal views on this, see the essay 'They are All My Children'.

But this story stuck with me, and I found myself thinking about it for a couple of days. I went back through my browser history and read it again, then penned the following poem. I have since sent it to the original reporter, Lane DeGregory, who has told me that she forwarded to Dani in her new situation, and the family she now lives with loved it so much they had it written in calligraphy and framed.

Of all the pieces I have written for myself, this is the first piece that I wrote for someone else.


A child’s mind,
imprisoned from the start
By a callow mother,
bereft of good heart,
Living in filth, neglect
loneliness and pain
Until good people
brought her into light again

Hollow eyes, sunken deep
into blank face
Peer through grimy glass
at this unknown human race.
A dirty blanket for a shade,
a closet for a bed,
No comforting arms,
no pillow for her head.

The eyes have no focus;
they do not tear or blink
They are not the eyes of someone
who is trying hard to think
They only see contrasts,
the balance of darks and light
The person inside is gone,
Given up without a fight.

When found by those
whose job is caring,
Those eyes see nothing
no soul is baring
Hardened pros
now scarred for life
To see this child
embodying strife.

A child unloved,
untouched, unwanted
Dark eyes empty
of life, yet haunted
By a life lived in squalor
neglect and isolation
The spark inside snuffed
by darkling desperation.

New parents stepped up
with hearts and love to spare
Giving her what she needs
a chance to grow and care
About herself if only
she can find
A way to feed the hunger
of her starving child’s mind.

The bleak life lived
as a child unknown by any other
Has changed thanks to
a giving man, a mother, a brother
This little girl,
shortchanged by birth
Now has the chance
to grow into her worth.

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