Listening to My Daughter

My daughter said to me last night,
“You aren’t doing a very good job
of bringing me up.” I said I knew,
but it was hard, harder than
it looked, and I was trying.
She said, “Okay, fair enough.”
We took a bath, and then went
for a walk, in a not so great
part of town. Bullets were
whizzing past; cars kept crashing
into telephone poles. She held
my hand, and I shielded her
with my body, and we almost
died, several times. Finally
we found the park, where the sun
shone down on roses and jonquils
and bright daffodils. I told her
that some people called them
daffydowndillies, but she wasn’t
listening. She was rolling down
a hill in the tall grass, laughing.
I laughed too, and my chest hurt.



M.A. Mohanraj
April 18, 1999