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One Hundred Bedtime Stories by Dana Shahar

Dedicated to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

I have written her one hundred bedtime stories.

One story for her favorite stuffed animal:

The tattered elephant with a truncated ear she named Rosa,

After her PBS Kids history hour idol.

One story for that tree in the backyard,

Nothing special really, except her plastic yellow swing hangs still from its branch.

One for her favorite brand of toothpaste:

Double Yum Bubblegum—

with sparkles.

Twenty stories for her baby teeth,

With an addendum ode to the first grown-up tooth,

Brave enough to peek up and get a glimpse of its new surroundings.

Two for the matching scrapes on her knees from her first bike ride tumble. Two

for those glorious toddler years,

When she would pick up the dictionary and shake it,

So that all the words scrambled,

And nonsense fell out.

Five stories, one for each of her favorite Disney channel stars.

Three for her radiant performances of The Nutcracker with her ballet troupe.

Just one for the sole tear this brave girl let escape

After her first bee sting.

Another for the mirror through which she made funny faces at me.

One for Spongebob, because she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ten for the number of girls at your last birthday party,

Because Madison couldn’t make it.

Five for the high five you gave me before you hopped on the bus for the last time.

Five for the number of kids in the neighborhood you used to play with.

Two for your beautiful, unjaded blue-green eyes.

Three for our heartbeats

Buh Buh Buh;

Her grandmother, her mother, me.

Two for our heartbeats

Buh buh;

Her, me.

One for my heartbeat


Nineteen for the number of friends you lost; Five

for the numbers of years since I last saw you; Four

for the number of pictures of you on my desk; Three

for the year you found your spunk; Two

for those moments it was just us; One…

just for me…

…to make it through the night.

And none for the blind bullet

That found you in your first-grade classroom

Before I could read you these stories.