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Scandalized by Daughters

Maureen Scott Harris
From:   Grain, v. 31, no. 3, winter 2004


the rich murk of them, their slough edge,
that lap lap of voices and gestures, wings out suddenly and rising,
planing from the reed bank to the field beyond—

Their father in his garden shakes his head and resumes walking,
arms folded, hunched in thought. All those daughters like foreign soil,
like something he doesn't recognize—

He strains against the net of them, can't break through. He feels foolish, club-footed
              beside
the shifty pooling wind-struck ripple of them, their refusal to take hold.
              They will not
take form for him.
                                          The rill of their laughter deepening
              surging onto the field.

It's not what he planned, the way things are settling now-reeds
bending into the water, weeds spun gold, and a grey sky over it all.
                                                        That slough—
He wanted a kind of singing, his daughters blooming at his feet
so beautiful he scarcely dares to look at them.

And they in their scant slenderness, their clustered lives, laughter, voices linking and
              separating
yearn to pool about his feet, to fret and wash around him, pushing their weight against
              him as he stands
reflective, bending his head. They are hoping to find themselves in his gaze, his hand
              reaching to hover over their hair.



Maureen Scott Harris's works copyright © to the author.


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