She doesnít want to go to her fatherís,
so she plants herself
like a Lenten rose in my flower bed,
braced against the cold.
Her sturdy body, like a household appliance,
is the only sign
sheís nine years old, and the tears
sheíd cry into a lake
he couldnít walk across
are not a childís, but like my own,
and she knows I know.
I pretend itís just a bratís tantrum,
that she needs me to make this decision for her
because Iím her mother.
The truth is, both of us,
because I am older and tall as an adult,
have played these roles.
She trapped like a veal calf in her childhood,
and me, like a tulip
forced in winter and put out in the yard.
Somewhere in the part of her
thatís plugged into the stars,
she knows what really happened,
the way she knows Eveís fall wasnít about any apple,
and the lady with the black eye
didnít run into a door,
the way sheís always known too much:
that Iím a coward,
childish, selfish, ever drawn
toward heat and my own appointments,
and I want her to go.
Date of Birth:
March 21, 1963
Three Candles, The Blue Moon Review, Thunder Sandwich, Iris, Mediphors, New York Quarterly, Snake Nation Review, Split Verse, etc.
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