For My Daughters
by Al Gabor

You probably would have preferred
something more exciting:
the ability to whistle through two fingers,
legs like Ballerina Barbie,
hair that curled from a sense of devotion,

Instead I give you
words.
Useful but an imperfect gift,
quarrelsome as twins,
crude, approximate,
and, like any other currency,
constantly devalued.

You accept them in stages,
first mouthing the raw noises of possession:
I, MY, MINE;
then, crayon in fist,
drawing their shapes:
tents that offer no protection,
unclimbable ladders,
circles that enclose nothing.

Why such gifts?
Terrible and old-fashioned. Listen:

"Once upon a time..."
"It was harvest when the stranger appeared...."
"In a land across the seas..."

These are supermarket words,
common as carrots.
But arranged with love and
with faith,
--especially with faith--
and they are the stuff your bones are made of,
the stuff that swims in your blood,
the breath that cools into stars.

Remember with me,
words preceded the world.

They will outlast it.

 

 

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