In Which I Compare My Daughter to Stars
My daughter’s red hair is so startling
strangers stop us
walking home from school,
in the grocery, while she hangs
on my arm in the mall, just to mention
how its colour— like the fresh heat of a protostar--
has affected them.
So, she already knows the power of a stranger’s attention.
I am startled, in front of a painting
that has propelled me light years into the future.
Where a young woman, my daughter
has turned her head toward a man.
Her neck has expanded,
to hold everything I’ve taught her
plus the weight that that comes
with the gravity of growing up.
What does she know now?
Of the man who for hours
stared at what she’s become.
What does he know of her?
How, when she was young enough to hold
her mother sang to her on a porch swing
as the universe swung in unison.
Yes, there is the best mix of blue and grey
to splash the galaxies of her iris.
The skill to draw wire across her frame,
so she may hang on a gallery wall.
Here, years from now
strangers see her elbow point west
toward a source of dim light,
her hair—hot red, the core of the sun--
and again feel compelled to stare
and say something.
Noah Renn is writer and teacher living in Norfolk, Virginia. His poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The Virginian-Pilot, The Quotable, Princess Anne Independent News, Full Grown People, and Whurk, among other journals. He is a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee. He teaches composition and literature at Old Dominion University, and leads a poetry workshop at the nonprofit organization, The Muse Writers Center.
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