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Posts Tagged ‘daughter’

 

 

 

It began as my father cheering for me,

he’d count it off, then chant low and bright,

One, Two, Three, Yay Rox!

 

He used it often—for curtain calls

and piano recitals and catching fish

and semester finals. And he’d use it,

too, when I’d come in blue

with rejection letters or a broken heart,

and he’d say it softer, with a squeeze and a hush,

One, Two, Three, Yay Rox.

His is a heart of sun.

All moments are moments worth honoring.

What does not makes us more wholly ourselves?

 

And then, I don’t remember when,

he changed the rules and made me join in.

Made me say the five words together with him,

whether I wanted to or not,

One, Two, Three, Yay Rox!

 

How my own tongue stumbled, still sometimes does,

but always, his voice is there beneath my own,

steady and confident, tender and clear.

After years decades of cheers, I daily

harvest the wealth.

How wise, the father, who gives

a girl herself.

 

 

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Out the window the world is reassembling itself. The shades of green begin to emerge in the field—so many greens. Some part of me wants to name them all—emerald, sage, Kelly, lime, avocado, moss, spring. I want to name them not to organize them, but to celebrate each one.

 

Last week I did a training on how to assess parental affection. It’s a funny idea, the quantification of affection. It reminds me of the way children will sometimes fling their arms back behind their shoulders in an awkward joy and say, “I love you thiiiiiiiis much.”

 

One of the markers for affection is parental use of endearments—honey, sweetie, pumpkin, darling. As the evaluator, I am asked to mark if this is absent, present or emerging.

 

I don’t think you ever called me honey or sweetie, Dad, in fact, no generic terms of endearment. You always had your own special names for me that emerged out of play—Penelope, Reesmorie, Rosamarinipuscavazini, Roxanne the Foxanne, Rox. I always knew I was special to you, branded by your love of silliness, your love of me. And sometimes, when I was down, I would call you, and just hearing you say your special name for me made life seem just a little bit better.

 

The greens outside the window are brighter now. They seem to suggest an infinite potential inside a finite range. I know it is just the bending of light, but it thrills me.

 

This morning, I would like to give you this sense of infinite possibility, offer it to you while you are far away in a hospital bed and it feels as if the options are closing. Inside that finite window of options, there is an infinite potential for healing. We couldn’t possibly name all the available outcomes, though I suppose we could rate them as absent, emerging and present.

 

What is present is the enormous love I have for you. I’m not interested in measuring it, really, just in giving it to you, letting you know how I celebrate you. As if with love alone I could take away the pain you are in.

 

Who am I kidding? I guess I do wish I could express the extent of love so that you could feel the infinite ways it unfolds in the finite space of my heart. And though the only name I have for you, Dad, is generic, I wish that by saying your name on the other end of the phone, things might feel just a little bit better.

 

Dad, I love you, thiiiiiiiis much,

Roxanne

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Gift

 

 

 

My daughter and I go down to the river

in search of smooth, flat rocks for the garden,

 

and though we have many times

walked to the river in search of smooth, flat rocks,

 

I feel some odd joy today, as if the familiar path

is leading us somewhere we’ve never been,

 

as if anything could happen this afternoon—

and the heart, which likes to think

 

it knows something about loving,

forgets that we are doing chores

 

and finds it can love even more.

Even my hands feel new,

 

seem to revel in lifting

just because they can.

 

 

 

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The girl with her goggles on pouts when the waves end.

You didn’t stay with me, she says. She holds on to my arm,

as we bob in the clear blue water of the pool. You stay with me,

she says. All around us, the high sun of summer makes

everything gleam. We splash and bob until the bell sounds,

and a collective squeal erupts from the crowded pool.

I stay as I have been told. The waves begin, small at first,

and the girl hangs on. And then the man-made surf

thrashes at our bodies, tugs at our suits. I do not

remember her letting go. I remember watching her head

disappear beneath the wave and her smile as she

emerged on the other side before she dove into the next swell.

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She watches the window waiting

for the owl to arrive with a letter

in its beak with her name on it,

or perhaps for a faun to show up

in plain clothes and escort her

to the gates of Camp Half Blood

where she might be claimed

as the daughter of Aphrodite.

Oh how she prays for any

formal invitation to a place

where she would discover she is something

more than just a normal girl

with normal talents and a normal

life. I don’t tell her that there

are invitations even now

for her to discover her true nature—

in the pond, on the trunk of the cottonwood,

in the river rocks, in the moss—

all of them magic, just waiting

for her to open them.

 

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Every morning when I was a girl

my mother would wake me

with song, the same lilting lyric

every dawn,

 

It’s going to be such a lovely day,

good morning, good morning I say.

 

It sounds too grand

to call it ceremony,

and she would have appeared

an unlikely celebrant

in her bathrobe and slippers,

but she infused

this daily ritual with prayer

 

and to this day I wake

certain that the world

will have beauty in it

and certain that I will find it—

this the most beautiful gift

any mother could give.

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This year for Mother’s Day, an offering of four poems published in Telluride Inside and Out–one for my mother, one for my son, one for my daughter (that invokes Mother Mary, too), and one about the day I quit motherhood.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers–especially my own. I love you, mom!

 

 

 

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