To My Daughter in a Red Coat

Late October. It is afternoon.
My daughter and I walk through the leaf-strewn
Corridors of the park
In the light and the dark
Of the elms' thin arches.

Around us brown leaves fall and spread.
Small winds stir the minor dead.
Dust powders the air.
Those shrivelled women stare.
At us from their cold benches.

Child, your mittens tug your sleeves.
They lick your drumming feet, the leaves.
You come so fast, so fast.
You violate the past,
My daughter, as your coat dances.

Anne Stevenson, "To My Daughter in a Red Coat" from Poems 1955-2005. Copyright © 2005 by Anne Stevenson. Reprinted with the permission of Bloodaxe Books Ltd. www.bloodaxebooks.com
Source: Poems 1955-2005 (Bloodaxe Books, 2005)
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