My Daughter at Seven

When you were in the womb the
World was a perilous place.
The doctors were full of doubts
About you staying where you
Were, where you needed to be
To do the work of being
And becoming a person.

But you stubbornly stayed put,
Your mother remained calm, your
Sister and I observed the
Hours until you arrived —
A shock of black hair on your
Head, contentment on your face,
Dreams brewing in your dark eyes.

Summer was upon us and
The perils of the world turned
Soft as butter. Your sister
Looked after you with us and
Soon you were smiling, walking,
Talking, singing, doing all
That young and thriving souls will.

You loved baby dolls and soon
You had a few with cribs and
Cradles spread around your room
For lullabies and naptimes.
Hand-me-down princess dresses
From your sister turned the world
Into a magical place.

And when we went to Disney-
Land, you wore a different dress
Each day and demanded that
I fly you from ride to ride,
Which I was glad to do as
Best I could, to simulate
The proper mode of travel.

For you were light as feathers
And I was a gust of wind
Thrilled to lift you up and take
You places. You went to school,
Following your sister’s paths,
But carving your own unique
Grooves and stylings on the way.

Now you’re seven and it’s been
A breakthrough year — up, down,
Spinning all around — breakthrough!
Swimming, soccer, monkey bars,
Learning to ride a bike all
On your own. Ukulele!
Roller skates! How I love you.


  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Not sure what was in the poet’s mind, but here’s how it hit one reader:

    The most striking feature of this poem (to me) is the strange line-breaks — on conjunctions, articles, and other words that, in the context of their lines, promise completion of the thought in the next line, ot some line further down, if at all.

    In the first two stanzas, this incompleteness suggests how ‘perilous’ the girl’s mere survival is. in the remaining stanzas, it suggests (to me) a hope and/or a faith that she will survive — yet that hope and/or faith remains haunted by knowledge of how impossible-to-take-for-granted, how contingent (and maybe miraculous) the precious birthday girl’s ability to celebrate her seventh birthday is.

    Maybe that’s all wildly off-target. In any event: Ad multos annos, little sister!

  2. What the man above said.

    Plus the 7×7 shape of the poem.

    Plus the final lines – catalog and declarative – are particularly effective!

    Best wishes to Dylan!


  3. Matthew Lickona says

    Nice juxtaposition, post-wise. Blog redeemed.

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not comprehended it. Even on Korrektiv.

  4. I adore Ukelele as Eureka. The entire poem is lovely, and sweet in a good way (like honey, not saccharine).

  5. Made The Bully cry.

  6. Jonathan Potter says

    Thanks everyone. More from the birthday girl here:

    The Carnival Cart™ will be available from Korrektiv Toys in the fall of 2014.

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