Before I ever dreamed
of not pleasing my father
(and this was before his hair turned
gray, although he tells it otherwise)
I filled hours imagining
the ways I was better, superior
to my sisters, mother, all others
who could not dream the way I dreamed
of being Daddy’s favorite
–the golden child
I am none of those
kinds of child
I am no longer child,
golden, unmarred or otherwise.
I have, with great reluctance, accepted
my position of adult, mother,
My dreams now revolve around my children
giving to them better than what I was handed,
and, yes, I still dream of pleasing
I am told of a goddess.
I see her in a long, white dress.
The sun has gently toasted her skin.
She glows golden.
She is perfection.
She is me.
If I accept her, I cannot please
He has taught me caution because women,
-especially strong and beautiful women-
cannot be trusted;
They embody evil, lust, temptation.
They reveal shoulders and knees and bosoms.
They are appealing to men.
If I accept her, I reject him.
I love my father.
I see the vice of unspoken history
He is Trauma’s whipping boy
by choice, by choice
And I could choose the same
but for me and mine and my goddess
I check another box.
When I pass this sadness of loss–
because my father will surely withdraw–
I will find a happiness larger than any expanse
of green grass and hollyhocks and the shimmering
water of an ocean, the whispering
leaves of a thousand trees I will embrace
my inner self and rise to the heaven
I was taught would be denied me
on the basis of “she” meaning “devil”.
Even he knows he was so wrong.