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For My Daughter

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I love her fierceness when she fights me,
shouting "Not fair!" Her eyes slitting
like shutters in cities by the sea.
Her life is rife with bonfires—seen and unseen—
fires that burn through the turning years
bringing her to life again, and again, in a miracle of smoke.
This heat gives her a sense of forgiveness—or so I imagine—
she kisses my back, capriciously, when I scold her.
Maybe she recalls the scalpel by which she was born.
Easy, the mark of its slash in my skin.
She rose from my belly as I slept. We're bound together
by peace, no shrieks of pain, and my modesty.
We're a canvas by Giovanni Bellini: a virgin and a sweet rabbit.

Source: Poetry (December 2007)

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

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For My Daughter

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