daughter

April 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm (Uncategorized)

Pitiful kitten squeakings when she yawns

make me laugh gently over my morning cup of tea

as she sits curled still bed-warm

against the kitchen radiator.

The new spikey cut frames her delicate features

making her seem pixie-like

the red dye vibrant against

a face pale and often washed out.

I try not to look

but am horribly drawn

to the scar corrugated skin down her forearm

the entire length would ripple under my fingers

if I dared to reach out and touch.

Other marks are less obvious,

her shoulder, thigh and the faint white lines

that remain on her belly

like some minor childhood operation.

With strappy t-shirts and low slung jeans

she displays them now,

unselfconsciously,

after the years of hiding.

Then

last night she curled upon my lap,

snuggled in like a toddler,

until my legs went numb and arms

could not support her.

My tacit guilt assuaged by

her seeking me out

but I too am helpless

against what plagues her.

In my fantasy

a soft strike of my hand would wipe it all away,

make new the skin that pain has ravaged

repair the damage

this outward sign of deeper wounds.

We only want them to be happy,

we parents claim,

if that is so

then those traces

are the tokens of my failure.

Worse than the day I stood

outside a newsagent

waiting for my son to buy cigarettes.

(Poetry as therapy. The experience of her desperate need for comfort overwhelmed me and to put this in to words seemed suddenly necessary. It is her story but also mine, but I watch as if through a thick pane of glass.)

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