Poem for My Daughter
You used to wake up in the middle of the night afraid of giant bees
so you would squeeze between us.
Sometimes, for no reason, you kiss me on the cheek
bending me towards you like a solitary birch.
One dull spring morning
You pointed to a woman wearing sunglasses at the bus stop
I said she was an agent sent to learn the secrets of our winters
and you laughed.
In traffic we often discuss the latest membership drive
of the Nut-Bar Driving Society as cars dart
in and out of lines like huge bugs on a pond.
Piles of leaves delight you.
Fire halls are full of intrigue.
Among your stuffed animals
Pat the Bunny though is still still your favourite.
Weekend mornings are full of indecision
about tops, jeans, and bits of jewellery
and on week days nothing annoys more
than the girl in homeroom who acts
like she knows everything.
Last summer you waited on the bench near the dock
and glowed in the afternoon sunlight
my first glimpse of you after two weeks of summer camp
a brief moment of magic inside a Greek myth spoken for the first time.
This knowledge will always be incomplete.
There is a desert island growing inside you
under distant stars
where only you walk solitary
as an empty branch in winter.
* * *
Carmelo Militano is a Winnipeg writer and poet. In 2004 he won the F.G. Bressani award for poetry. His essays and reviews have appeared in CV2, Italaian Canadiana, Maple Tree Literary Review, Northern Poetry Review, PopMatters, and Prairie Fire.
His prose work The Fate of Olives was short-listed twice in 2007 and 2008 – for two different literary prizes. His latest work is a poetry chapbook Weather Reports (Olive Press, 2011).