Two Daughter Poems

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Two poems about my daughter, Madison….
Mothers & Daughters
I watch how you watch me
while you pretend not to notice—
a mother’s life like a nature program
depicting embarrassing things.
Two animals having sex, perhaps,
or a female giving birth. Someday
will you say: What a wonder!
The delicate workings, the grace
in it all, seeing how I struggle
toward life? You, the cautious one,
who will hold a steady job when time
comes, keep one husband, a sensible match
you will choose by ticks on a page.
Not altogether fair you have me—
a puff of air, and not a family home
in the country you can work and save
for, buy one day for your own child,
a daughter who will long for alien
lands, exotic people, the jolting
twist at the end of every tale.
{2005 Tricia Gates Brown}

_______________________

On My Daughter’s Adolescence
You wear strength like a red scarf
at your neck. A shrugging puff
of silk against each perfunctory snub,
each mind-bending, hormonal blow.
It’s a wonder to me you are mine. Now
your slow life begins, the well
of your womanhood filled by a drip, a drip
that starts in red, leaving its angry
question mark, its trail of long
lessons learned. If I could I would wrap
my own trail in pretty, preemptive ribbon, fill
your quota with my spent pain. You
could skip the boys who will chew
you up and spit you out, the friends
who will leave, the simpering stare
of men expecting you to fail, the embarrassments
sleep doesn’t erase. But my well-
meaning hands are bound; Wisdom gives
eyelids, not reins. For me, it’ll be a ride—
your adolescence—on a fast-moving train.
Light and tunnel-black,
light,
tunnel-black,
to the end.
{2004 Tricia Gates Brown}

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