A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
My daughter browses a book on puberty.
It tells her not to worry about her hips
getting big and how to watch her weight.
Even at eight she’s being told to shrink
her imagination to that of allure, to trust
in the power of her lips and lashes.
When she was five she said, “Most things
have doors.” So I warn her that some doors
crash down on you like gates to a cell,
imprison you your whole life. Already
she’s worried about eating too many chips
and learning how to blend concealer
brushing her cheekbones to hide a blemish,
to hide, to draw the shades while she sits
admiring a necklace. Locked in a room
of vanity mirrors and walk-in closets,
I see how keys to other doors are snatched
from her, keys that open doors to libraries
full of books that only she could write, open
to audiences waiting to hear insights
only she could utter, doors that open to skies
bursting like peonies, to fields where she
unfolds rather than closes, where she dances
her thin body through traceries of belief.
Copyright 2018 Michael T. Young