Thursday, July 25, 2013

For Kate on her Sixteenth Birthday

Kate turned 16 on Sunday. Time is turbo-speeding! I can't believe she's just two short years from graduating from high school. Will you please stop growing, already? Anyway, I thought I'd post the poem I wrote for her special, coming-of-age day. I sure love her with all my heart, which was recently fixed, by the way. Maybe I'll write a post about that someday soon.

For Kate on her Sixteenth Birthday

She sits lotus-style on her bed,
grasshopper legs
and angled elbows
softened by a wide raspberry smile
and Jersey-calf eyes.
And though she's stunning
by the pickiest standards,
her playful, childlike demeanor says
her physical beauty
is almost an afterthought
(or a parenthetical phrase)
which serves to enhance--
never to define.

"Jump on me, Mom!"
She's almost sixteen,
could pass for a college student
now that the braces are off,
but still my little girl.
I leap onto her bed,
and she flails out her skinny arms and legs,
squealing as she flattens beneath me.
I roll over and we lie side by side,
laughing and talking
like young friends.

If I could have chosen each of her qualities,
if I could have designed her like I would a dress
or a quilt, if I could have genetically engineered
each detail to create the perfect daughter,
the limits of my wildest dreams would have prevented
my ability to produce
my dear, beautiful girl.