Daughter


Elizabeth, Jacqueline, Rachel,
Sarah, Valerie, Rose.

As if you were already here
we have begun to stitch
the borders of your name's
embroidery in our hearts.

As if you were already here
we try to trace the outline of
your shape, your face, your eyes,
inside that Polaroid of cathode rays,
shimmering in ultrasound.

If you were here,
our hands would cup you
like a Sevres vase, pulled out
from the straw, held up to light.
You would be delicate and fair.
Your hair would be your mother's
hair, your eyes would be
my eyes.

If you were here,
we would remember songs
your grandmothers sang to us,
we would remember
words and notes
and cadences fleeting as the
swallows on the birdbath,
winged and flickering.

But you are not here.
Always two, we wait for you,
listening when the schoolbus
rattles to a stop outside
across the lawn,
trembling as the whir of skates
go by us on the walk,
breathless as my brother
presses the phone from far away
into our niece's tiny fist,
innocent, unknowing,
coaxing her to say
hello.

And here we are,
whole but expectant,
clinging to all we have,
each other,
and all we know
of wanting
is
never to be waiting,
never to leave you,
always to hold you,
always to keep you,
never to question,
never to doubt,
always to see you,
always to need you,
only to have you,
daughter
our daughter
my daughter

Elizabeth, Jacqueline, Rachel,
Sarah, Valerie, Rose.


11 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful. You can feel the heart and soul in this poem.

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  2. This is so very beautiful and moving. It brought tears to my eyes as I experienced the emotion within the words.

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  3. Yes, these are heartful and moving words. I feel the immense space around thoughts, feelings and wishes.

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  4. I enjoyed the shape of the poem as well. It stands almost as a pregnant woman...Lovely visual.

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  5. What I like best is that we tend to attach this kind of emotion to the expectant mother... rarely the father... What touches me is that, while the daughter grows inside her mother, these words and the inspiration for them grows inside her father.

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  6. being in the mothering phase of seeing my daughter spread her wings and wanting to fly away but still needing the safety of the nest, I am struck with my need to keep her, to hold on to her, yet know she needs to take the plunge. Love your reflection, and yes it's great to feel the Dad's need too.

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  7. For all the kind words, thank you.

    Short link - http://bit.ly/s4daughter

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  8. Exquisite--a sparkling jewel!

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  9. I really like this, particulary the lines:

    "inside that Polaroid of cathode rays,
    shimmering in ultrasound."

    and

    "and cadences fleeting as the
    swallows on the birdbath,
    winged and flickering.".

    Great poem.

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  10. Samuel, as always a well-crafted jewel, a piece which - as a very serious father - speaks to my heart. My little girl is a 21 year old Political Science major with a type A personality.

    Yet you bring me back.

    And I still kiss her forehead.

    Whenever I can.

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