‘Song for My Daughter,’ ‘Song for My Son,’ & ‘Out of the Wood-‘


Song for My Daughter

Because my father pushed me
down the path alone
Because my bridegroom marked the trail
with ash
Because a wolf in the woods
acts not from contempt
but takes what’s his
Because every mouth satisfies
a body’s hunger
Because when asked, I will say
it was a dream, my love
a tale I heard
Because the crone hushed and hid me
while tending her pot
stewed marrow they’d suckled since birth
Because she was once also a girl
but hands can form habits
and recipes spells
and good mothers feed even their raw, wicked ones
Because with man as my savior
I was safest alone
Because the bird in the cage
sang words he had learned
from the previous girl
Because leashed as she was
she never said “no”
Because her finger, severed
continued to sing, and I wanted to use
its song as my proof
Because a woman’s word
can never be proof
Because I had no wounds on my skin
when I stumbled home
Because my father slept sound
on a pillowcase filled
with dowry gold
and I would not wake him
from this particular dream
Because you’ve heard this before, where boys will be
beasts and girls will be
cloth, torn to ribbons
tied tightly in knots or in bows

Song for My Son

I submerged my hands in the frozen pond,
If I could hold myself prone on smoldering coals,
I could mold your father’s half prayer into one half of a son.

Hans my Hedgehog, Hans my Hoped For, Hans One Half of my Heart.

Hunch-clutched in my womb, how I hated
your hungers, your hiccups, your twisting,
your quills bristling into scouring bouquets.

Hans my Hedgehog, Hans my Unhandsome, Hans Heir of Half Horseshoes and Hurt.

How I harbored you! My hull
hole-riddled, my sail ripped to ribbons,
An addled sieve sailing you on.

Hans my Hedgehog, Hans my Howling, Hans One Half of my Home.

Poppy bright polka dots adorned my insides.
My inter-uterine stigmata, your hot crown
of thorns. Of a man wished and of woman borne.

Hans my Hedgehog, Hans my Hazard, Hans My Only Son.

Out of the Wood-

work, the girls,
girls at work
in the woods,
whittling, whiling
wood-working girls
girls with awls,
with circular saws,
all at work
like good girls
worked over,
worked on,
worked upon,
notched and scored
with a miter’s
cross cuts, laced
and latticed,
locked up
all that good girls
Out of wood
walked a girl
polished and waxed
lemon scented
scoured smooth,
a girl who reflected
your face
in her shine
a girl well designed
sturdy and fine
sealed shut
like a wardrobe
its wood work
inscribed with girls
in the woods.