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What my daughter wrote

  • 26 November 2013














Father's Day (or a little after)

For Lucy

She said I was fifty-two and weighed sixty-eight kilogramsAnd stood one-and-a-half metres tall, and some of that is right.She said my hair was brown and that my brown beardPrickled her when I kissed her, which she said was often.

She said I was good at writing and drawing and soccerAnd not so good at cooking. All true. He likes to ride horses,She said (though she never saw me). He draws me birds. She saidIf I were a superhero, I'd be Superman, and she didn't say why.

She said she loved me because I hugged her all the time (but whoCould not?). And because I was funny. She emphasised that. Then,Smaller: 'He is busy a lot!' But he reads to me and he listensTo me when I read. He loves Mr Todd, and I love Timmy Tiptoes.

But she was sick when Father's Day came, and she forgotTo give me the sheets where she wrote all this in class.She gave them to me today and didn't want to talk about itWhen I got out of the car to catch the train again. He buys me

Toys from Sydney, she had written — as if toys were spices andSydney were Tashkent. Later, when she called to say goodbyeProperly, she still couldn't speak. And oh, there is no painSo pretty as how well a young girl likes to miss her dad.

No heart so easily wronged — or righted again — as hers.Nor any heart so far gone for good quite so often as his.


Soft bombs

From under the shower I lookUp at jacaranda blossoms, suicideBombers in party dresses, fallen over-Night on the skylight in the rain.

And I think of you, the tender hope-Ful violence of the sacrifice involvedIn loving me, each kiss a pretty bodyPart, a broken fall from grace. 



Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.–Jack Gilbert, 'Failing and Flying'

Like some nocturnal Icarus, I dream too close to heaven — I fly too close to morning — and I wake in pieces. And so I woke this Wednesday, a child disarmed in sleep and felled By the gravity of the ancient light he dawns in. But I rose — A trick Icarus mastered just once, but oh how mastered