Letter to My Daughter
(St. Helena, Napa Valley)
Because the time will come when the sky turns
to umber. If we’re lucky, there will be poems
and good wine, and someone, looking on,
will see us seated two rows from the front,
you in a summer dress, me in my somber poet
attire, hair gone to silver — or going that way.
They’ll think, there they are, our bodies together making
something lovely and altogether necessary:
mother, daughter, like nesting dolls — you, resting
in my lap, the illusion of a self, split
and refracted in time’s mirror, a trick of generations.
Even in July, the hours are too short to contain
all the day’s longing. If only we could stay
like this, faces lifted toward the valley’s rough horizon,
burnt by sunset going too quickly to dusk.
If only I could hold you in the shadow of these
trees, branches bowed in a cathedral hush,
aisles flickering with tea lights, tapers. I already
see the girl you’re growing to be, which is why
I’ve imagined you thus, light fading in snatches,
lamp dimmed until it’s just the face,
glowing faintly, closed in evening’s palm.
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