“Your Daughter’s Voice”
Your daughter’s voice: a mouse, a wall that wraps itself around
and against you, and a knife-drawer into which you reach, withdraw.
She searches for cheese with silences and you dole out small,
serrated bits. Your daughter’s voice: a mouse, a wall.
Last month she cut herself, her slow crawl away from the edge a blur
of effort and exhaustion. The knife-drawer still holds her in thrall,
gleaming with her eyes’ lost brightness, holding her in the holey shawl
of reclaimed power. Your daughter’s voice: a mouse, a wall
that builds in pebbles, separates but disappears in places, barely high enough
to bounce a ball, powerless to forestall the overtures of weeds and boys,
overgrowing her now as if she were not a squall gathering force to burst onto
her own shore. Your daughter’s voice: a mouse, a wall, a warning to us all.